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Full text of "Rambles in the Black Forest"

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RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 



A SELECTION FROM 

MILLS & BOON'S 

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RAMBLES IN THE 
BLACK FOREST 



B'Y 



I. A. R. WYLIE 

AUTHOR OF "MY GERMAN YEAR" 

"DIVIDING WATERS" "THE RAJAH'S PEOPLE" 



WITH 3 ILLUSTRATIONS BY C. LIEBICH, 3 BY G. ENGLISH 
AND 22 FROM PHOTOGRAPHS 



MILLS & BOON, LIMITED 

49 RUPERT STREET 
LONDON, W. 







Published 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGB 

I. A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE .... 1 

II. WHICH VENTURES TO BE MILDLY INSTRUC- 
TIVE . . . . . .14 

III. THE FIRST BLACK FOREST RAMBLERS . . 27 

IV. THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE : SINGEN AND THE 

HEGAU 37 

V. BOLL AND THE VALLEY OF THE WUTACH . . 56 

VI. ST. BLASIEN AND THE ALB VALLEY . . 77 

VII. THE WEHRA VALLEY : TODTMOOS AND SURROUND- 
INGS . . . . . .98 

VIII. SCHWEIGMATT, THROUGH THE WlESE VALLEY, TO 

BADENWEILER . . . . .121 

IX. BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG . . .142 

X. THROUGH THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH . .172 

XI. RAMBLES ROUND ABOUT HORNBERG. . . 201 

XII. A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH : PEOPLE AND 

CUSTOMS . . . . . .220 

XIII. OVER RIPPOLDSAU AND THE KNIEBIS TO BADEN- 

BADEN ...... 255 

XIV. BADEN-BADEN AND SURROUNDINGS. . . 285 
XV. THE LAST RAMBLE : HERRENALB AND KARLS- 
RUHE ...... 310 

v 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



GERSBACH .... 
OX-WAGON AT GERSBACH . 
KURGARTEN BADENWEILER . 
FREIBURG CATHEDRAL 
THE TITISEE ..... 
COMING BACK FROM CHURCH 
A BAPTISM IN GUTACH. By C. LIEBICH . 
COMING BACK FROM CHURCH GUTACH. 
C. LIEBICH .... 

By permission of Adolf Bonz, Stuttgart. 
BLACK FOREST COTTAGE 
RIPPOLDSAU ..... 

RlPPOLDSAU, ANOTHER VlEW 

ALLERHEILIGEN .... 
GEROLDSAU WATERFALL 



By 



Facing p. 122 

124 

144 

166 

184 

222 

230 

244 

, 256 
, 262 
, 264 
268 

282 



viii 



RAMBLES IN 
THE BLACK FOREST 

CHAPTER I 
A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

I HAVE chosen the title to this little book 
only after much doubt and many twinges of 
conscience, fearing to mislead my readers by 
the term 'rambles,' which in a usual way 
infers something altogether pedestrian. But, 
indeed, where in the English language is a 
word to be found which comprehends every 
mode of locomotion except flying ? How com- 
pose a title which will immediately call up 
before the mind's eye a vivid picture of the 
author on foot, of the author on a bicycle, of 
the author in a puffing and snorting little 
motor-car belonging to a past generation of 
motor-cars, of the author in a comfortable if 

A I 



RAMBLES ' Itf THE BLACK FOREST 

hired victoria we must not boast of the 
author, last, but not least, wearied and broken- 
spirited, in a common ox-wagon, having been 
picked up ten miles from anywhere by a 
pitying village yokel ? The obvious answer 
is the word ' tour/ but to my mind the title 
Tours Through the Black Forest would be even 
more misleading in fact, positively deceitful. 
It might persuade some prospective holiday- 
maker to buy the book under the impression 
that it is a kind of guide and friend through 
all the intricacies of the German time-table, a 
saving help in those times of doubt and un- 
certainty when twenty hopeful porters, repre- 
senting as many * first-class hotels/ await his 
final choice. He might imagine carefully 
mapped excursions one day here, two days 
there, half an hour for this waterfall, and so 
on, with all the overblown signposts righted 
and pointing in the truthful direction for his 
benefit. All this he might imagine, and be 
greatly deceived, for I have no wish to enter 
into any competition with great firms of ' Globe- 
Trotting Mentors.' If I had the wish I should 
have no claim to be heard, and those who 
trusted me would soon find themselves bitterly 
disappointed. I merely wish to describe the 
Black Forest as I know and love it, and I 
have chosen the word * rambles ' because, for 

2 



A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

me, it expresses something unrestrained, hap- 
hazard, something altogether unbound by laws 
and miles. It suggests an easy jog-trot which 
will give you time, if it so pleases you, to lie 
full length in the grass and dream yourself 
away amongst the pine-tops, or to stop and 
study the flowers which grow in such rich pro- 
fusion along the roadside, or to watch the 
wild deer grazing in the cool shadows, or to 
listen to the roar of the torrent as it thunders 
on its way valley -wards. Whatever else 
happens, you will at least not be hurried, and 
if you are tired after a long walk, and a 
peasant's cart comes your way and you are 
offered a lift, there will be no tiresome pedant 
to chide you that it would be incorrect to 
accept, since you are a professed pedestrian ; on 
the contrary, you will be told that it is the 
only sensible thing to do, and that nobody but 
the confirmed mile -eater, as the Germans 
picturesquely call him, cares for plodding on 
when he is already hot and weary. In a word, 
this book is for the rambler, as I understand 
him, not for the tourist, who is a very different 
person. The genuine tourist never rambles, 
he tours, and therein lies the fundamental and 
all-important difference. The world is full 
of tourists ; some of them are rich and laden 
with much belabelled boxes, some of them 

3 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

are poor you meet them on the dusty high- 
roads, burdened with heavy knapsacks, hatless, 
coatless, with red, hot faces, which they lift a 
moment in order to contemplate you lying in 
the shade of the trees. As a rule they see 
nothing of the country through which they are 
trudging. Their eyes are fixed on the dust, 
and the only point of interest for them is the 
encouraging mile-stone which is bringing them 
nearer to their destination. 

Rich and poor, all these people are ' touring,' 
and the tourist has only one object in life 
to ' do ' something, to * get ' somewhere, and to 
have the right to say he has ' done it,' or c got 
there ' all on foot, or all in a motor-car, or all 
in a first-class sleeping compartment, just as 
his particular ambition tends. And, rich and 
poor, all these people are more or less mad 
at any rate, pitiful self-deceivers. They call 
* pleasure ' what is in reality a strenuous hustle 
and bustle which no one really enjoys ; they 
call * sight-seeing ' a blind race to some given 
point which has no further interest for them 
from the moment that they have reached it. 

Such people only learn to know the country 
they travel through from the exterior, and 
they never learn to love it. They may be able 
to catalogue every picture in the galleries and 
every ' notable ' sight, but they will never learn 

4 



A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

to know the ' genius' of the places they see. 
They are rather like those other people who 
pride themselves on having what they call ' an 
eye for faces/ but who have never learnt to 
study an expression, much less to penetrate 
below the surface to the character or emotion 
in which that expression has its source. Such 
folk judge entirely by outward appearances, 
and consequently they rarely love and they 
rarely praise with genuine feeling. They are 
impressed by a beautiful face or by a gorgeous 
apparel, but, after all, neither the one nor the 
other can form objects of lasting affection. 

So also the tourist only such countries 
impress him which have something stupendous 
to show ; if he is rich and luxurious he likes 
grand scenery and grand hotels, if he is of the 
mile-eating type he likes to climb famous 
mountains and famous passes, and in both 
cases a purely pastoral beauty, the charm of 
a peaceful landscape, has no hold upon him. 
In his eyes one valley, one low, fir-covered 
mountain looks like another, and he groans 
after the obvious magnificence of a Mont 
Blanc. 

I make these observations, not out of ill- 
feeling against a harmless enough section of 
my fellow-creatures, or because I have any selfish 
interest in the well-doing of Black Forest hotel- 

5 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

keepers, but simply in the endeavour to explain 
the marked neglect with which the Black 
Forest is treated by foreigners. In the summer 
you may meet trains full of English, American, 
French, and Kussian travellers, bound for the 
Alps, for that already overcrowded Switzerland : 
but from the moment you leave the plains 
behind you, and wander up into the Forest, 
which lies at the east of the grand route, you 
find yourself almost entirely amongst the native 
Germans. For them the Black Forest is a 
legitimate playground, a spot of earth created 
to suit their temperament and their taste. 

There are few grand hotels the average 
German's pet abomination and the scenery is 
essentially Teutonic if I may coin the ex- 
pression that is to say, poetic and lovely, 
romantic and wild, but neither cold nor tre- 
mendous, and only rendered awe-inspiring by 
the spirit of past ages which broods over its 
solitudes. 

Therefore, wherever you go you will meet 
Germans of every class and from every corner 
of the Empire, but perhaps one Englishman 
in a hundred. Him you may greet as a sort 
of Masonic brother, since only a genuine love 
and understanding has driven him aside out 
of the excited, heated stream of holiday-makers 
bound for Europe's so-called playground 

6 



A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

I have been told, of course, that Switzerland 
offers far more attraction, that the hotels are 
better, that the scenery is grander ; that, on the 
other hand, the Black Forest is monotonous 
and consequently depressing. Bien entendu 
it was a tourist who offered me this explana- 
tion a rambler would have known better. 

He who has really travelled through the 
Black Forest with his eyes and heart open, 
will tell you that not only can it stand com- 
parison with Switzerland, but that it is incom- 
parable. It is true there are no white-capped 
mountains, no glaciers, no dangerous passes ; 
the stupendous, awe-inspiring properties of the 
Alps are, in a word, wholly absent ; but, 
indeed, in these forms of beauty the Black 
Forest makes no attempt to enter into com- 
petition. One might almost say that she 
disdains the more boastful splendours of her 
neighbour, standing alone and unique in her 
own quieter grandeur, and calling with an 
irresistible eloquence to those who understand 
her language. Not every one understands her 
language. I have no doubt that there are 
hundreds of travellers who stand awestruck before 
a Swiss mountain, and who will never recognise 
the impressiveness of a Black Forest gorge. 
The heights and depths are not great enough 
for them. They prefer something which crushes 

7 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the senses beneath a weight of magnificence, 
something which requires no effort to under- 
stand and appreciate. The Black Forest lover 
and she has only one kind of lover, the ardent 
admirer who admits no rival must have the 
love of nature implanted in him, he must be 
himself something of a poet, and something of 
a musician, and something of an artist, even 
though he never composed a sonnet, or a song, 
or painted a landscape. He must be able to 
see in every valley, in every waterfall, in every 
mountain a subtle distinction, a delicate 
character which lends each a separate person- 
ality, a charm unlike all others. His observant 
eyes must be able to mark the changes which 
come with a marvellous swiftness over the 
landscape the wonderful colours which reveal 
themselves amongst what seems to the careless 
tourist a monotonous olive. In the loneliness 
he must be able to see life the hundred forms 
of beautiful and strange life which move noise- 
lessly in the shadows and in the silence hear 
the music of the fir trees and the drowsy hum 
of a countless hoard of unseen workers. 

It seems a great deal to expect of a simple 
and unpretentious rambler, but, indeed, without 
these virtues of heart and mind the Black 
Forest must remain a closed book for him. 
She makes no vulgar appeal to the senses ; 

8 



A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

like every one worth knowing she holds herself 
back in reserve until she feels the true under- 
standing of a sympathetic personality. 

For the Black Forest has her own personality 
so much so that I must fain allow her a personal 
pronoun and like that of her inhabitants it is 
so profound, so unique, that it has withstood 
the levelling atmosphere of the globe-trotter and 
remained itself, sphinx-like, for those who give 
themselves neither the time nor the trouble 
to learn to understand, a tireless teacher for 
those who come with heart and eyes open to 
receive her lessons. 

Therefore I warn the great army of mere 
sight-seers, of bustling tourists, and society- 
loving folk to leave her untroubled. They will 
find nothing to attract them, and will only 
go away disgusted with the dreariness and 
monotony of a much over-rated district. 

But the rambler will understand and love 
her. It may be that he will have to learn, for 
some ramblers are born and some ramblers are 
made ; some ramblers see from the beginning, 
and some have to be taught to see. The present 
writer humbly confesses to belonging to the 
latter group. There was indeed a time when I 
greatly preferred the more brilliant effects of 
the Alps, and found the Black Forest, as I then 
knew it, a rather monotonous health resort. 

9 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

The truth was that I had never done anything 
but .tour through the country. I had stopped 
at the big hotels and been hustled and bustled 
about in the most busy season and in the 
midst of a thorough holiday crowd. I had 
done the correct excursions and seen the correct 
sights, but I had remained, nevertheless, blind 
and deaf to the real character, the real meaning 
of that which I saw and heard. Afterwards 
I learnt to know people who had made their 
home in one of the quiet valleys, who lived 
there through summer and winter, and they 
slowly opened my eyes and ears. They took 
me among the village folk and up into the 
mountains, where the tourist foot never wanders ; 
to peasants' huts hidden away up in the heights ; 
they told me of the folk-lore, the people's customs, 
the legends which haunt the mountains, and 
gradually the Black Forest became imbued with 
a spirit, a living personality whose language I 
had learnt a little to understand. Let me 
confess at once that my understanding is far 
from complete I think it is a confession which 
even the greatest authorities must make. For 
Nature has given us in the Black Forest an 
inexhaustible expression of herself, and whereas 
elsewhere, as in Switzerland, she holds aloof, a 
stern, cold goddess who locks her secrets and 
her wisdom in an impenetrable bosom amongst 

10 



A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

the low, pine-covered mountains, she relaxes her 
stern features and becomes the living companion 
of those who have learnt to love her. And 
whether you are a born rambler or only in the 
making, it is worth while to learn to love this 
nature, this Spirit of the Black Forest, as we 
will call her. Then when you stand on what 
seems to you the highest summits and gaze 
over the sweep of mountains which stretch away 
like a purple haze into the sunset, you will not 
complain of a want of grandeur. You will 
realise that you are standing at the heart of 
Nature herself, that she has opened her gates 
wide to you, and that the world which lies 
before you has been her undivided kingdom 
from all eternity. You will not complain of 
an oppressive quiet, for you will have learnt 
to understand the voice of the Forest which 
will tell you legends and strange tales from 
a history which stretches right back to the 
beginning of man. And you will not complain 
of loneliness, for, as I have said, you will have 
learnt to see life in the seeming solitude, and 
your imagination will have learnt to conjure up 
the quaint earth men and all the fairy spirits 
which still live there for the punishment of 
the wicked and the reward of the virtuous. 
And as you stand there a change will come over 
you : no cold, glacial peak rises above you to 

ii 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

remind you of your own insignificance ; the 
world lies beneath you, a wonderful forest-world 
whose beauty seems to elevate you above your- 
self, to fill you with an idealism which perforce 
forsakes you in the stifling lowlands, and in 
the crowd and strife of the cities. You feel no 
arrogance. The world beneath you is not less 
than you. Nor do you feel oppressed, crushed 
beneath the menace of a Nature who stands 
before you as an eternal enemy, asking life for 
every daring encroachment upon her territory. 
Here Nature claims you as' a very part of herself. 
All that is best, noblest, grandest in her finds 
an echo in all that is best, noblest, and grandest 
in your own heart. She calls awake slumbering 
melodies and half-forgotten dreams, and the 
breeze which she sends to you over the pines 
sweeps away the mists, the unhealthy vapours 
of modern life, and brings, for the moment at 
least, an absolute quiet and peace. Peace, 
health, mental and physical, such are the gifts 
which the Spirit of the Black Forest gives to 
the heart- and mind-wearied humanity who year 
after year come to her saving power for help. 

It is not without reason that sanitoria for 
every form of suffering are to be found dotted 
amidst the solitude. In the solemn, elevating 
grandeur of her mountains, in the quiet gaiety 
of her valleys, in the healing peace of her 

12 



A PRELIMINARY RAMBLE 

forests, in the pure air, heavy with the perfumes 
of the pines, mind and body can rest, can draw 
health and gather strength to renew the battle 
which had overpowered them. But in case it 
be suspected that I have shares with Dame 
Nature in this favoured ' health resort ' which 
she has erected, I will say no more for the 
present. Suffice that it is to the true rambler, 
the nature lover, the man or woman seeking 
vigour and relaxation, that these rambles are 
dedicated. 

There are hundreds of rambles which I have 
left undescribed, for they would fill almost as 
many volumes, but if I have encouraged the 
reader to seek them out I have attained my 
humble object. At any rate, this chapter has, 
I hope, justified my own claim to the title 
of a ' rambler.' 



CHAPTER II 

WHICH VENTURES TO BE MILDLY 
INSTRUCTIVE 

THE rambler need not be alarmed by the above 
title. I have no intention of belabouring him 
with scientific facts, or burdening him with a 
heavy supply of geographical, zoological, botani- 
cal, and geological wisdom. Science, and even 
an over-supply of wisdom, are not for the 
average rambler, who likes to go haphazard, and 
wants to enjoy nature without having to bother 
about the whys and wherefores of his enjoy- 
ment. I know, from my own experience, that 
there are some well-meaning but objectionable 
people who 'during a stroll will never leave you 
in peace, but are always engaged in cataloguing 
the different trees and plants, and worrying you 
about the possible and impossible geological 
make-up of that particular district. All this 
is very unnecessary and very disturbing. It 
does not much matter to the Black Forest 
rambler whether the ground he walks on is 

14 



VENTURES TO BE INSTRUCTIVE 

composed of granite or sandstone ; what does 
matter to him is that his path is shady and 
beautifully kept, and that the flowers growing 
on either side offer him a delight entirely 
independent of names and distinctions. And 
even if the rambler be a man of science whose 
chief enjoyment in life is the gleaning of fresh 
knowledge, he will at least be wise enough 
not to look for a detailed scientific exposition 
of the various points of interest in a book 
which professes to deal purely and simply with 
rambles. He will know that each branch of 
science would require a volume to itself, and 
if he wants that volume it is easy enough to 
obtain. 

Nevertheless, I feel impelled to touch lightly 
on certain features, because, in the first place, 
they may encourage the student to seek further ; 
in the second, because they are directly connected 
with that intangible but very real being whom 
I have ventured, for want of a better term, to 
christen the Spirit of the Black Forest. For 
example, the rambler who is ignorant of the 
country's wild, romantic history, will miss some- 
thing of the magic which haunts the old ruins 
whose shattered walls frown over the valleys. 
He will feel himself less drawn towards the 
inhabitants, in whose veins flow the proud 
Roman and Celtic blood ; the grandeur of the 

15 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

mountains will impress him less, since their 
origin is unknown to him. 

For there was a time when they were not 
mountains, when the peaceful valleys over 
which he gazes had no existence. How long ago 
the gigantic changes took place none can say, but 
it is certain that no human eye witnessed them. 

A hundred thousand years back a few 
thousand this way or that is of no importance 
a broad tableland spread from the present-day 
Bohemia to the present-day France. In the 
first instance it was composed chiefly of granite, 
but, as the ages passed, the waters brought 
with them a mighty and increasing sediment 
of rock and stone which rose above the original 
bed to a height of about three thousand feet. 
By a natural process the gases and burning lava 
lying beneath in the heart of the tableland 
cooled, bringing with them a contraction, a 
shrinkage of the earth which left immense 
cavities beneath the surface. On this frail 
crust lay the whole burden, which eventually 
proved too heavy. The crust yielded, the 
terrific masses thundered down into the depths, 
leaving behind solitary standing points which 
we now call mountains, and forming beneath 
valleys of very varying lengths and characters. 
The Black Forest was one of the definite 
results. 

16 



VENTURES TO BE INSTRUCTIVE 

As we know it to-day, it extends from 
Karlsruhe south as far as Basel, a distance of 
about one hundred and seventy-five kilometres, 
and from east to west its breadth varies from 
thirty -five kilometres (in the north) to seventy- 
five kilometres (in the south). Full three- 
quarters of this valuable territory lie in the 
Grand Duchy of Baden, a quarter only in 
Wlirtemberg. The geographical divisions in 
the Black Forest are so sharply and clearly 
defined that the rambler who is fond of mapping 
out distinct districts which he intends to explore 
has a comparatively easy task before him. He 
need only take the valleys and follow them up 
to their head, and see all that the Black Forest 
has to show in pastoral and wild romantic 
beauty. 

And here these valleys can be divided into 
two distinct groups. Far the greater number 
run from east to west, and are accompanied by a 
stream or river which pours down from the 
heights into the Rhine, and from which the 
valley takes its name. From west to east, that 
is to say, on the western slope of the high ridge 
of mountains running northwards, the valleys are 
fewer and usually of a wilder character. Their 
rivers flow into the Donau, which, as all the 
world knows, takes its source at Donaueschingen ; 
but I fancy it must sometimes puzzle an unde- 
B 17 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

cided rivulet as to which of the two great rivers 
it shall honour with its humble addition, since 
the frontier between the eastern and western 
slope is of the narrowest. 

These two groups of valleys can be divided 
again into smaller groups, which repeat them- 
selves with slight though distinctive variations 
throughout the Black Forest. Some, such as the 
Gutach, are purely pasture land. Fresh green 
meadows stretch on either side up to the low 
mountains which lie well back from the quietly 
flowing river. There is a broad outlook and 
from a slight eminence one can look away over 
the villages clustering on the banks of the great 
Rhine plain beyond. 

These valleys lay no claim to romantic 
grandeur, but they have a charm which is all 
their own, and as characteristic of the Black 
Forest as any wild and rocky cleft. It is here 
that the rambler finds the picturesque villages, 
and the wealthy, conservative old peasants who 
cling to their customs and their dress with a 
pertinacity which, alas ! is yielding to the inroads 
of ' modern fashion.' But we will come back to 
these interesting folk later when our rambles 
lead us past their homesteads. 

In contrast to these valleys there are the 
narrow gorges whose rocky walls, rising sheer up 
on either hand, allow scarce room for more than 

18 



VENTURES TO BE INSTRUCTIVE 

the bed of the torrent which rushes tumultuously 
towards the plain. There are others which 
broaden out gradually, others which retain a 
certain breadth throughout, and each, though 
it can always be reckoned as belonging to a cer- 
tain class, has a certain characteristic either in 
respect of its scenery or its inhabitants, which 
the rambler grows gradually to recognise and to 
appreciate. These also we shall visit later on ; 
for the present we must leave them for the 
mountains themselves. 

As I have warned the reader at the beginning, 
there are no snow-peaked Alps here to catch the 
eye of the jaded, sight-seeing tourist. The 
highest mountain, the Feldberg, rises only to 
about 4500 feet, and though in past ages it was 
covered with snow throughout the year, all 
traces of winter now disappear at the beginning 
of June and even earlier. Nevertheless, on a 
suitable day a very rare day, it might be 
remarked the view from the summit is a 
magnificent one : the Khine lies beneath, and 
over all the neighbouring mountains the Feld- 
berg is undisputed monarch. 

To the south-west lie its two most important 
rivals, the Blauen and the Belchen, both over 
4000 feet ; northwards the Kandel rises well 
above its neighbours, but from thence the 
mountains gradually sink, and only here and 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

there, as in the case of the Hornisgrinde and 
the Kniebis, can they boast of more than 
3000 feet of grandeur. ' Grandeur ' in con- 
nection with such small elevations may seem 
absurd to the climber of Alpine peaks, but, 
indeed, actual measurements go for little in the 
Black Forest. 

Wherever you are you always seem to have 
the world beneath you, and this is specially true 
of the northern parts which, according to feet 
and inches, should be considerably less imposing 
than the south, but which, on the contrary, have 
regions of unrivalled beauty. I have no doubt 
there are any number of travellers who would 
rise in protest against this statement, but it 
is, after all, only a matter of taste, and I con- 
fess to a weakness for the north, and to having 
found the south somewhat over-estimated by 
comparison. 

One of the many reasons given for the 
so-called 'monotony' of the Black Forest is 
the ' absence of water.' I put the statement 
in inverted commas because it is not my state- 
ment, and I only repeat it because it has so 
often been repeated to me. Were the charge 
true, I admit that it would be a very grave one, 
but I venture to protest against it. It is true 
there are few lakes of any great importance ; the 
Titisee and the Schluchsee make the greatest 

20 



VENTURES TO BE INSTRUCTIVE 

claim to attention, though there are others, such 
as the Feldsee, whose inferiority in size is atoned 
for by wilder, more romantic, surroundings. But 
the rivers, the torrents, the rivulets which 
stream down every hill and mountain-side 
and the waterfalls ! The rambler who fails to 
find the waterfall at every stopping-place must, 
indeed, be a unique individual. There are water- 
falls everywhere of all sorts and sizes, from the 
grand Triberger, whose imposing beauty has 
been spoilt by too much artistic cultivation on 
the part of over-zealous hoteliers with an eye 
to the tourist taste, to that of Allerheiligen, to 
my mind more natural and therefore superior. 
It is always a mistake when mankind imagines 
he can improve nature by mowing the grass, 
planting regular flower-beds, and turning on 
an artificial moonlight of various colours in a 
thunderstorm. A rambler who knows the Black 
Forest will sympathise with this sentiment. 

One word more before leaving the geo- 
graphical province. Throughout the country 
which we are about to explore the roads and 
paths are magnificently kept : the paths are like 
those of a park ; the roads make the rambler 
who has neglected to bring his bicycle gnash 
his teeth with vexation. A great deal of this 
advantage is owing to the nature of the soil, and 
to the fact that many districts are closed to the 

21 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

motorists ; but a great deal more is owing to 
the praiseworthy efforts of the Black Forest 
Association (Schwarzwald Verein), who keep up 
the paths, erect signposts, and act as the 
rambler's guardian angel throughout. 

In speaking of the various means of transit, 
mention must be made of the railway naturally 
the work of the Government, and one of which 
it has every reason to be proud. ' The 
Schwarzwald Bahn ' is, in fact, one of the 
' sights ' and rivals some of the greatest Swiss 
engineering feats. Though the greater number 
of health resorts lie some miles from the actual 
station, still there is no spot in the Black Forest 
which the railway does not make perfectly 
accessible, and for this blessing one must offer 
up humble thanks to the Government. No 
private company would ever have built it, for it 
neither pays nor is it of much strategical use, 
being incapable of transporting great loads. It 
is a great piece of enterprise, out of which the 
traveller certainly takes the profit. 

Another * last word ' must be devoted to the 
weather. The weather ! If one could only find 
a l last word ' for it in these erratic days ! It 
is with fear and trembling that I make the 
following statements, for which I refuse to hold 
myself in any way responsible. Settled weather, 
either for good or barl, is rare in the Black 

22 



VENTURES TO BE INSTRUCTIVE 

Forest. The morning can be cloudless, there 
may be a terrific thunderstorm in the afternoon, 
and a glorious sunset in the evening. One day 
may be tropical, another may find you huddled 
up against the welcome stove with blue fingers, 
and wondering why you did not bring your 
winter things with you. All this does not 
sound very hopeful, but I must add that the 
climate is nevertheless a healthy one in summer 
and in winter. There are at least no fogs ; 
whilst below in the valleys less fortunate mortals 
are making their way through mist and mud, 
the Black Foresters are enjoying a clear air and 
a dry soil ; for no matter how much it has 
rained, the roads and paths are always irre- 
proachable. A south-west wind predominates, 
and thunderstorms which first break against the 
sides of the Blauen and then roll from mountain 
to mountain northwards are anything but 
rarities. They are a part of the Black Forest, 
an expression of her spirit, adding to her 
majesty, and the rambler who has not heard 
the artillery of a hundred armies roaring about 
his ears has missed the chance of listening to 
her in her grandest moods. 

The temperature, as I have hinted, varies with 
every day, and also, naturally enough, with the 
altitude. On the whole one can say that the 
lower resorts are too hot for July and August, 

23 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

but delightful for June and September ; but 
everywhere the nights are cool and refreshing, 
and nowhere has one to suffer from the dried-up 
vegetation and dusty, stifling atmosphere which 
so often spoil the holidays in other parts of the 
world. The Black Forest knows no high 
summer in the general sense of the term. The 
trees bear always a fresh green until they 
change for their autumn tints ; the meadows 
are always verdant ; the vegetation seems to be 
always that of early summer. As a rambler 
who knows the Black Forest in spring, in 
summer, in autumn, and in winter, I can recom- 
mend each season, though always with due 
regard to the places chosen. 

For the winter the highest points are not too 
high. The cold is dry and keen but not too 
intense ; and the wonderful forest-world clothed 
in spotless white, adorned with glittering gems 
whose facets flash in the cold sunshine, with 
pine and fir burdened with frozen snow, clean- 
cut against a sky of Italian blue, should be 
something of a revelation even to the most 
spoilt rambler, and even though he knew 
nothing of the noble art of ski-ing. 

For spring the choice must be a cautious one, 
but if the lower roads are chosen it is fully worth 
while to run the risk which the weather offers. 
The first pale green of the re-awakening birks 

24 




THE BLACK FORESTER'S HOME IN WINTER. 



VENTURES TO BE INSTRUCTIVE 

and beeches creeping up among the solemn olive 
of the unchanging forest firs and pines reveal to 
the rambler the very embodiment of Spring 
herself. To my thinking there is only one 
season more beautiful in the Black Forest, and 
that the autumn, when Nature lavishes her 
whole wealth of colour to perfect the fiery 
magnificence of her own apotheosis. But it 
must be admitted that the rambler who 
ventures up into the heights in either of these 
two seasons must be of the hardier sort, 
prepared for minor hardships, and capable of 
making up for the lack of exterior warmth by 
vigorous exercise. Moreover there are, as 
everywhere, periods when the Black Forest 
is wholly unenjoyable. Roughly speaking, the 
rambler may hope for sufficiently fine weather 
up to the end of September, when, though the 
autumnal beauty is at its height, the cold 
becomes unpleasantly noticeable and the chief 
hotels close. 

December marks the opening of the winter 
season in the higher resorts, which lasts until 
about February. From February until the 
middle of April the climate is cold, damp, and 
most uninviting, but from that time onwards the 
rambler may make his plans. For the ordinary 
holiday-maker who is less anxious for physical 
exertion and more desirous of basking in warm 

25 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

sunshine, I venture to recommend the middle of 
June to the middle of July, and the end of 
August to the beginning of September. At 
both times the country is in its best summer 
mood ; the hotels are cheaper and not so over- 
crowded, and the weather in an average year 
(I wonder what an average year nowadays is 
really like ! ) fairly settled. 

So much for geographical and climatic 
information ! I might well ramble on and 
become botanical and zoological in my in- 
structiveness, but I refrain, leaving such things 
to the dim future. Only I should be doing 
the Black Forest an injustice, I should be 
depriving her of one of her most powerful 
appeals to the imagination, if I allowed her 
history to pass unnoticed, and therefore a brief 
survey, which leaves volumes of romance untold, 
may be here acceptable. 






CHAPTER III 
THE FIRST BLACK FOREST RAMBLERS 

THE dark recesses of the Black Forest have 
indeed seen much history and many changes, 
both, for the most part, of a violent character. 
Of those changes the average traveller would 
suspect little on his rambles, for each change has 
brought with it the destruction of the last, each 
race of men has destroyed the traces of its 
predecessor. And so the Black Forest, in spite 
of her past, in spite of her stubborn inhabitants, 
who have fought for their existence in the most 
unfruitful fastnesses, in spite of the thousand- 
headed troup of tourists, in spite of railways, 
has retained something of her virginity, of her 
old jungle-darkness and solitude. 

History has left few traces, and yet the history 
of the Black Forest dates as far back and is as 
stormy and bloody as that of any country in 
Europe. 

Of her first inhabitants, the Celts, little is 
known save that they were a people on the first 

27 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

steps of civilisation. A few stone implements 
and utensils found in the most prosperous 
valleys testify to their one-time existence, 
though it appears that they never ventured up 
into the forest darkness, then inhabited by 
hunger-driven wolves and bears. The Celts 
passed, or rather became absorbed by their 
Koman conquerors. Under the latter's absolute 
sovereignty the whole character of the Black 
Forest changed : it became the centre of a 
civilisation hitherto unknown and almost 
unthinkable in the bleak, sparsely habited 
regions. The new colonists cleared their way 
up on to the mountain heights, built high-roads 
along the summits and on the jagged rocks over- 
looking the valleys, erected watch-towers and 
fortresses against the northern enemy. Thus for 
a time after the tumult of conquest a certain 
idyllic peace settled upon the forest. Not only 
civilisation, but imported splendour came with 
the Roman Conquest. The baths, as at Baden- 
Baden and at Badenweiler, indicate an almost 
unparalleled luxury, and throughout the country 
wheresoever the Roman foot trod sprang up 
small towns and villages, built after the national 
fashion of the builders. 

Thus two centuries passed before Rome's 
power waned, and the first uneasy stirrings 
of the Germanic tribes upon the borders of the 

28 



FIRST BLACK FOREST RAMBLERS 

Empire became a definite revolt. For a time 
the Legions held their ground with varying 
fortune, and then, like the rush of a tide, long 
held in abeyance by a weakening dam, a 
horde of barbarians flooded over the field of 
their labours, sweeping out of existence or 
demolishing almost beyond recognition every 
trace of the old civilisation. Thus of the 
Roman period in the Black Forest history little 
remains, and that little lies in ruins. Here and 
there on some solitary height the wanderer will 
come across a broken, shapeless wall, and in 
Badenweiler the marble baths have been spared 
sufficiently to give an idea at least of their past 
splendour, but the greater part of the Roman 
work and the Roman civilisation has disappeared. 
Once more the jungle grew over their high- 
roads ; their watch-towers and the hostelries 
which they had built for the shelter of travellers 
fell into decay. The new conquerors, wearied 
of the roughness of their own climes, kept to the 
valleys, and the mountains became once more 
the habitation of the wolves. Yet below the 
surface the Roman influence remained. Those 
of the old inhabitants, a mixed Celtic-Roman 
race, who had been left, carried on their own 
civilisation, and slowly, insidiously, Franken 
and Alemanen and such others of the Germanic 
race as had made their home in and about the 

29 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Rhine valley came under the influence of those 
they had conquered. All this concerns us and 
our rambles only in so far that we shall meet 
the Roman influence, not in architecture or in 
laws or customs, but amongst the people them- 
selves. For just as there are villages where 
the Huns have left a distinct trace both in 
names and in physical types, so there are whole 
districts where the traveller especially the 
traveller who knows his Italy well - - will 
find the ' Roman face ' constantly reproduced 
amongst the peasantry. Thanks to a rigid 
system of inter-marriage, the latter have suc- 
ceeded in remaining a race apart : physically, 
bearing strong traces of their ancient origin ; 
in character, taking after their surroundings 
hardy, reserved against impertinent intrusion, 
honest, simple, and yet possessed of a certain 
rugged grandeur. But to return to their fore- 
fathers and the first of those who made the 
mountains their home. 

After the Germanic invasion the Black Forest 
knew no change of masters save in times of war, 
when alternately she was captured and re- 
captured ; her barbaric conquerors retained their 
hard-won territory, and gradually in their turn 
became civilised. Christianity came amongst 
them, heralded for the most part by Irish 
monks, who founded a great number of the 

30 



FIRST BLACK FOREST RAMBLERS 

monasteries which to-day mark the most popular 
resorts. Pursued and persecuted by their future 
converts, these monks sought refuge in the 
mountains, fearing the jungle and its wolf 
inhabitants less than the human inhabitants of 
the valleys, and succeeded in winning a scanty 
means of existence from the rocky soil. They 
were, indeed, the pioneers of the Black Forest. 
They opened out regions which since the Roman 
days had been regarded as impregnable, and 
chose the sites for their monasteries with a 
wonderful forethought and a wonderful per- 
ception of the beautiful. To-day the existence 
of an old ruined cloister is sufficient testimony 
that the surroundings are idyllic, peaceful, and 
lovely, and it is hard for us ramblers of to-day 
to realise what we owe to these first hardy and 
daring explorers. For it followed, as a natural 
consequence, that not only did they bring with 
them an increasing civilisation, but the land 
about them became cultivated, and little by 
little their dwellings became the centre of small 
but growing colonies. Converts from the 
valleys, encouraged by the monks' success, and 
at last hunters, wood-cutters, shepherds, and 
peasants, followed their example and sought a 
new existence in the depths of the mountains. 
Each colonist chose out his own piece of land, 
and worked on it unaided save by the members 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

of his family, and thence sprung a system of 
life which exists to-day. The modern rambler 
will often be struck by the solitary farms which 
dot the mountain-sides at wide distances from 
each other, and if he inquires further he will 
find that each farm is a world in itself, an 
independent kingdom ruled over by some old 
peasant who neither needs nor asks assistance 
of his neighbours. In the past, only one danger 
succeeded in bringing these lonely folk together, 
and that was a danger from a third class of 
pioneer. The nobility amongst the tribes of that 
day was at first merely the distinction between 
the serfs and the freemen, but later the more 
powerful amongst the latter adorned themselves 
with titles (Freiherren, Junker), and arrogated 
to themselves unlimited authority over those 
directly beneath them. Power begets rivalry, and 
with the rising of the self-made lords there grew 
up an increasing unrest. They themselves were 
not safe from each other, and to obtain security 
from attack they turned to that part of the 
country which offered them a natural protec- 
tion. On the crags, where the old Romans had 
built their watch-towers sometimes on their 
very ruins these knights erected the strong- 
holds whose broken walls we shall meet on our 
rambles. Thus protected and almost unassailable 
they turned their attention to an increase of 

32 



FIRST BLACK FOREST RAMBLERS 

their wealth, and soon no peasant, no travelling 
merchant, was safe from attack. Perched upon 
the heights overlooking the valleys these light- 
fingered nobles were able to watch the richly 
laden caravans on their way northwards, and 
like so many vultures swept down on the 
harmless and defenceless travellers, plundered 
them of their merchandise, and were back in 
their strongholds before their victims could so 
much as think of obtaining help, still less 
revenge. Naturally the peasants suffered most, 
and suffered from two quarters, since not only 
were they the obvious prey for their unscrupulous 
superiors, but the clergy, who had long ago 
given up the frugal, hardy ways of their fore- 
runners, exerted their spiritual and material 
power over their flock to the point of tyranny. 
Driven to exasperation, the peasants formed 
secret leagues, and at last, in 1524, broke into a 
terrible revolt. As is usual, it was a compara- 
tively light incident which fanned the smoulder- 
ing bonfire to flame. 

A certain countess of Lupfen ordered her 
servants to leave their harvest work in order 
to gather snail-shells for her, and this last 
insulting injury was the signal for an outbreak 
which spread like a prairie fire over the whole 
country, destroying half the monasteries and 
castles, and breaking for ever the power of 
c 33 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

both nobility and clergy. From that moment 
the peasants obtained their freedom, and a 
certain prosperity seemed likely to be the 
reward of their struggle, when the wars of 
religion broke over their head. 

The Keformation had made its way through 
the Black Forest, starting from Switzerland, and 
gaining power as the nobility accepted the new 
teaching. It is regrettable to note, however, 
that the popular confession of faith veered 
round every time a duke or prince changed 
his mind, so that generations passed before 
either side could definitely claim its followers. 

And meanwhile the wars did their work, 
calling the male population to arms, leaving 
the villages desolate, the fields unattended, and 
sending back year after year a horde of ragged 
vagabonds to complete the destruction of an 
already half-starved population. Whole villages 
disappeared beneath the hands of these new 
robbers ; women and children fled to the most 
lonely mountain recesses, there to face a miser- 
able death either from hunger or the fangs 
of the wolves, whose numbers had doubled 
during the time of general desolation. The 
hard-won civilisation and prosperity of a few 
years was swept away. The few castles and 
strongholds which the Peasants' War had left 
standing were reduced to ruins. The Thirty 

34 



FIRST BLACK FOREST RAMBLERS 

Years' War, with religion for its watchword, had 
done its work. And still the Black Forest's 
stormy history must go on. 

Under Louis xiv. and xv. of France the War 
of Succession once more brought war and blood- 
shed over the country. The wars of the Re- 
public flooded the Black Forest with French 
and Austrian soldiery. Scarcely a valley or a 
pass that did not echo the thunder of desperate 
fighting, in which the peasants bore their 
heroic part. As most desperate of all must be 
noted the retreat of the French army under 
General Moreau through the Hollenthal. 
Amidst pouring rain, threatened by flooded 
rivers and torrents, their road blocked by 
Austrian troops, the Frenchmen fought their 
way over the mountain heights and at last 
reached Freiburg, a ragged, broken remnant. 
This struggle, the most remarkable that the 
Black Forest had seen, since the most remote 
valleys and highest summits were not spared, 
marks the close of her warlike history. In 1806 
Napoleon I. created the Grand Duchy of Baden, 
which compassed three-quarters of the Black 
Forest. This possession remained in the same 
hands, the Grand Duke uniting himself to the 
allies after the battle of Leipzig. And thus 
the Forest's varying fortunes end in a non- 
eventful history, which betokens peace and 

35 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

progress. And thus also ends my instructive- 
ness and a brief survey of the past as the scene 
of our future rambles has witnessed it. It may 
happen that every here and there some moss- 
grown ruin, some sleeping village, will bring that 
past back to us, and paint for us a corner out 
of the great picture. At any rate, the canvas 
is stretched, and the genuine rambles may begin 
at last. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE: SINGEN 
AND THE HEGAU 

I SUPPOSE there is scarcely a guide-book written 
on the subject of the Black Forest which does 
not take either Pfortzheim or Karlsruhe for 
its starting-point. I hope, therefore, that it 
was not a mere spirit of contrariness which led 
my German friend and me to start our grand 
summer exploration in direct opposition to all law 
and order. I hope there was method in our 
madness, or, at any rate, sufficient method, for 
an over-abundance of that commodity suggests 
the tourist rather than the rambler. It is true, 
that for the English traveller coming from 
England, Karlsruhe offers itself as the nearest 
entrance, and if he have but little time to spare 
he will do well to read this book backwards 
and begin, as the guide-books have it, 'at the 
beginning.' But if he have a few weeks before 
him and the desire to learn to know the Black 
Forest at its heart, I suggest that he follow 

37 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

our procedure. There is, indeed, something 
vaguely disappointing for the newcomer in the 
all too popular resorts which lie about Karlsruhe 
and Baden-Baden. The tracks are too beaten, 
and he has not learnt to know the Spirit of the 
Forest sufficiently well to overlook what is 
banal, overrun, and ' tripperish,' and see beyond 
too the inner beauty and meaning of the 
surroundings. English people who take Wild- 
bad and Hundseck for their headquarters more 
often than not come away with a tale of disappoint- 
ment. They have seen nothing of the peasant 
life, and do not believe there is anything to see. 
They tell you that the picturesque cottages 
of which they had read are either imaginary 
or belong to past ages, and their general 
impression is that of a series of rather dull, 
rather comfortless health resorts. Naturally, 
they do not seek farther, and the real Black 
Forest remains unknown to them. Had they 
started with the less frequented regions they 
would have come north possessed with under- 
standing, and the very real I might almost say 
unrivalled beauty of such places as Allerheiligen 
would be revealed to them shorn of the dis- 
advantages which its too great accessibility 
brings with it. 

The northern Black Forest is, in fact, at once 
too typical and not typical enough. Its very 

38 




A CORNER IX A BLACK FOREST COTTAGE. 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

beauty leads the inexperienced to believe that 
it is all that the Black Forest has to show, and 
that beauty is for him too monotonous, too 
obviously intended to attract the tripper eye. 
The romance is lacking, and all that which lends 
character to a country, the people and their 
homes, has almost entirely disappeared. I 
confess at once that already, before we started 
on our travels, we were a little weary of that 
which lay at our door, and that fact may have 
helped us to our decision. Be it as it may, 
whether, as I believe, with reason or simply 
out of the desire to get out of the beaten 
track, we took direct train to Constance, 
to the very south-east corner of the Black 
Forest ; in other words, we defied every 
guide-book that was ever written. Had it not 
been that our somewhat vague plans com- 
manded us to 'move on' we should probably 
have gone no farther, for Constance is one of the 
many charming towns which Baden may boast 
of, and the Insel Hotel a dwelling-place which 
offers its guests at once romance and comfort. 
In past generations a large Dominican monastery, 
it has still retained its pleasant cloisters ; what 
was then a solemn vaulted chapel is now a 
stately dining-hall. The waters of the lake 
over which it looks flow round its walls, and 
cut it off by a narrow moat from the noisy 

39 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

streets, thus justifying its name, and lending 
it a certain atmosphere of dignified aloofness 
from the modern world, whose demands for 
comfort and luxury it has been compelled to 
satisfy. As we sat over the excellent table 
d'hote dinner in the dignified loneliness of 
belated travellers, I could not but wonder what 
the shades of the old fathers were thinking 
of our delicacies and of the solemn attendants 
at our backs. Undoubtedly they were there- 
one felt them loitering dismally in the shadows 
but whether they watched us with righteous 
disapproval, with envy, or with the kindly 
understanding of fat non-Lenten days, I do 
not know. Certain alone is that they neither 
took away our appetites nor spoilt our rest, well 
earned as it was. The charm which pervades 
the Insel Hotel pervades all Constance. History 
lurks in the old-world corners ; cardinals and 
bishops, emperors and kings, passed by in the 
grand pageant which the Consilium and the grey 
walls of once dreaded prisons call up before the 
imagination. And with all that solemnity from 
a great past there is a certain gaiety, a certain 
spirit of smiling and peaceful content. One 
is tempted to bask away one's time in pleasant 
idleness, allowing the fascination of the Middle 
Ages to alternate with the delights of to-day ; 
spending the cool of the afternoons on the 

40 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

waters which carry one out to the idyllic island 
of the Mainau, where the Grand Duke of Baden 
has his summer residence, and the evenings on 
the terrace overlooking the lake with its hundred 
reflected lights and many shadows. 

In the height of the summer, mosquitoes, with 
a wholly reprehensible interest for newcomers, 
mar the pleasure of these occupations, and this 
disadvantage, together with the heat, should 
encourage travellers to choose an early month 
for their visit the middle of June for preference. 
But Constance is the gate of the Black Forest, 
not the Black Forest itself, and regretfully we 
consigned ourselves and our belongings to the 
railway to be transported farther. Our road 
led us past a second lake Untersee which 
is in reality only a division of its superior 
neighbour. From the shores we caught a 
glimpse of the island of Eeichenau with its 
many holy and unholy memories, for the ruined 
monastery which lies peacefully amidst fruitful 
fields and pastures does not, unfortunately, bear 
witness to an exemplary past. Founded, so it 
is said, somewhere in the year 724 by a certain 
Pirmin of pious memory, it soon occupied much 
the position of a modern fashionable church, and 
was patronised by all the best people of that 
day. Unfortunately this popularity, together 
with the unexampled preciousness of its relics 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the bones of St. Mark numbered among others 
appears to have turned the heads of its abbots, 
who fell into ways of the wildest luxury. 
Nor was luxury the only crime attributed to 
them : the ruined castle, built probably by some 
Roman predecessor, and used by the abbots as 
their dwelling-place, was reduced to ruins by the 
lake fishers as the punishment for a peculiarly 
brutal act. Some of their number having 
ventured to ply their trade in the waters which 
the monastery chose to consider as private 
property, the abbot had them seized, and 
blinded them with his own hands. Embittered by 
this unwarranted cruelty, their comrades banded 
together, and the broken walls of the once 
luxurious castle bear testimony to their revenge. 
Thus we left Reichenau behind us and 
stopped for a few moments' breathing-space at 
the old historical town of Radolfzell. History 
dates its foundation to the seventh century, 
when a certain Bishop Radolf of Verona, on the 
search for the ' simple life/ with the permission 
of the abbot at Reichenau, built himself a cell 
and chapel on the borders of the lake. His 
extreme holiness attracted other pilgrims, and 
gradually, after his death had, as it were, 
sanctified the place, Radolfzell grew from a spot 
of religious retirement to a prosperous fishing 
village, and from a fishing village to the peaceful, 

42 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

old-world town as it stands to-day. For us its 
chief claim to interest lies in the fact that the 
great poet and novelist of South Germany, 
Joseph Victor von Scheffel, had his home 
there, and there probably gathered together the 
romance of the region, which we were to visit, 
making out of vague legend a brilliant his- 
torical picture of the past. Of him and of 
his work we may speak later when we reach the 
places which he has made more memorable than 
their memories have done. 

In the meantime our train had steamed out 
of the station and we had other things to think 
of, namely, the fading afternoon light had 
warned us that time had not stopped on our 
account, and that our chances of reaching our 
destination that day were becoming distinctly 
problematic. My German friend thereupon 
took a sympathetic train conductor into her 
confidence, and, with the assistance of a much 
bethumbed time-table, discovered that if we 
really wished to reach Boll we should have to 
travel till midnight, with the pleasant interrup- 
tion of changing trains at nearly every small 
station en route. This prospect was too much 
even for our energy, and at the next stopping- 
place we turned out with bag and baggage to con- 
sider the difficulty at our leisure. The difficulty 
was not diminished by the fact that the platform 

43 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

was entirely devoid of human life. Thus we stood 
there in the midst of our goods and chattels, real- 
ising for the first time how very wrong it is to 
break the Sabbath by travelling, and wondering 
if anybody in the sleepy little town was awake. 
And presently, just as despair was about to take 
hold on us, lo and behold ! a figure came 
running full pelt in our direction, dragging on 
a coat as it ran, an hotel porter's cap stuck awry 
over a very red face. Our unexpected rescuer 
proved to be the man-of-all-work at the neigh- 
bouring Hotel Sonne, and he immediately 
appointed himself our guide and friend. Boll 
he had only heard of in a vague way, but he 
calculated it was inaccessible that night unless 
we went by motor-car. The idea of a motor-car 
was as surprising as it was agreeable. But a 
motor-car in connection with the dreamy little 
half-town, half-village in which we had landed 
seemed altogether out of place, and we ventured 
to doubt the possibility. Our guide was decided 
and a little hurt. Certainly there was a motor- 
car there was THE motor-car in fact, though he 
was less sure as to whether he could obtain its 
services so late on Sunday evening. Would 
it not be wiser to stay the night and go on 
the following morning ? Singen was, after all, 
a most interesting town. We looked about us. 
A little above the town, on a slight eminence, 

44 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

we saw what appeared to be a well-preserved 
castle, built in the style of the Middle Ages, and 
beyond that a mountain, which rose like a 
solitary jagged tooth out of the undulating 
plain. There seemed, indeed, to be enough to 
occupy us for one evening at least, and yielding 
to the wiles of our new friend, and the pleadings 
of a very hungry inner man, we wended our way 
to the Hotel Sonne, whose windows had seemed 
to be watching us during our moments of 
hesitancy with wide-open interest. 

Half-inn, half-hotel, our new lodging-place 
accommodated us with a pleasant bedroom and 
a good meal, but as there was no sitting-room, 
save one that was filled with a gay, beer- 
drinking Sunday crowd, we soon found our- 
selves once more on the wander. My German 
friend, who has a passion for old castles haunted 
with romance, insisted on a visit to the promis- 
ing-looking erection which had at first attracted 
our attention, and thither, therefore, we repaired 
as fast as our bump of locality could guide us. 
The streets in the interior of the little town 
showed a decidedly more lively appearance than 
we had expected. On the so-called market- 
place a merry-go-round was keeping up a 
cheerful and wholly friendly musical contest 
with the solemn organ tones from a neighbour- 
ing Catholic church, where the more sober 

45 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

members of the community were paying their 
Sunday devotions. Youth, however, appeared 
to prefer the merry-go-round, and we had some 
difficulty in making our way across into the 
unfrequented street which led out of the town 
towards our destination. Our destination, how- 
ever, when once reached was well worth the 
trouble, as we at once decided. It was a ruin 
that was not a ruin, for, though bearing the 
rough imprint of time and weather, it had still 
retained all the essentials of roof and covered 
towers, and its ddbris was in the last degree 
decorative. 

" What a wonderful artist Nature is ! " my 
German friend exclaimed, with true Teutonic 
enthusiasm. " See how beautifully she has 
toned the colouring on the walls, and look how 
the moss has grown in the crevices about the 
windows ! It is really one of the most perfect 
examples of Middle Age architecture." 

" Please, do you want to go over the theatre ? " 
said a small voice at our elbow. 

" What ? " we demanded of the bare-headed, 
bare-footed, and not very intelligent-looking 
country maiden who had apparently sprung 
from nowhere. 

"What?" 

" The theatre," she repeated placidly. " Fifty 
pfennig entrance, please." 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

We stared about us. There was nothing that 
looked like a theatre in sight. 

" What theatre do you mean ? Where ? " 

11 There ! " 

Slowly the veil fell from our eyes. There 
was, indeed, something suspiciously picturesque 
about the vividly green patches of moss, and 
the window - - yes, on closer inspection the 
ghastly suspicion confirmed itself the window 
was a painted fraud ! My German friend 
turned slowly and sadly away, but my feelings 
having been less harrowed I stayed a moment 
to probe deeper into the matter. It appeared 
that our marvel of 'Middle Age architecture' 
had been erected somewhere about the year 
1905 A.D., and was there solely for bi-annual 
performances of the dramas connected with the 
history of the neighbourhood in fact, a kind of 
worldly Oberammergau. Certainly the building 
was a wonderful deception, and inside and out 
it kept up appearances to a degree which must 
make the actual performances peculiarly impres- 
sive. Still, it was a bitter disappointment, and 
though my German friend tried to comfort 
herself with the reflection that the presence of a 
theatre of such dimensions and originality in a 
town that could only be called town by courtesy, 
proved the profound artistic and poetic not to 
mention enterprising qualities of the German 

47 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

people, her belief in things general was at least 
temporarily shaken. As a counter-irritant, 
therefore, I suggested that we should spend the 
last hour of daylight in climbing the mountain 
immediately before us. There was something 
so real about that hour's climb that I fancy my 
friend's sense of unreality of things had de- 
creased before we reached the summit, and she 
was quite prepared to take the ruins on trust. 
History at least vouches for them and the 
broken walls ; the fallen towers and turrets, in 
part overgrown with shrubs, indicate a troubled 
past ; in truth, the Hohentwiel, as this lonely 
rock is called, has seen many changes and 
vicissitudes. Rising abruptly out of the gently 
undulating plain it formed a natural place of 
defence, and as such it has been used throughout 
all time. Its first masters appear to have 
looked upon it as a kind of altar for their 
religious offerings ; later, the Roman legionaries 
built a watch-tower, possibly a fortress, on its 
summit, and the saying has it that in 816 Pepin, 
the son of Charlemagne, claimed it as his own. 
It would take us too far to follow its succeeding 
history, and I can only advise those whose 
interest may have been aroused to read 
Scheffel's romance of Ekkehard, and there 
learn the story of the ruined monastery, of its 
foundress the beautiful Herzogin Hadwiga, of 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

the monk whose mad love for her made him 
forget his vows, of his punishment and of his 
rescue at her hands. The story, based on the 
chronicles of the monk, Ekkehard iv., is one 
of the poet's greatest works, and it surrounds 
Hohentwiel with the light of a half-real, half- 
legendary romance. Later on, in the Thirty 
Years' War, the castle of the Hohentwiel won 
high renown for itself under the command of 
Konrad Wiederhold, who defended it successfully 
for fifteen years against the Imperial troops, and 
at the concluding peace was able to hand it over 
unconquered to his master the Duke of Wiirt- 
emberg. This glory was overshadowed by its 
surrender to Napoleon in 1800, who had it 
razed to the ground. From that date its 
history as a fortress ends, but its interest 
remains, and the view from the summit of the 
rock should compensate every weary climber for 
his pains. The whole land of the Hegau lies 
beneath him, broken every here and there in 
its smooth, green undulations by other abrupt, 
almost unnatural-looking elevations. There are 
seven of these strange rocky formations the 
Howenegg, Neuenhowen, Hohenhowen, Hohen- 
stoffeln, Mandelberg, Hohenkrahen, and Hohen- 
twiel. The neighbours of the last-named lie 
northwards almost in a direct line, as though 
Nature had intended to erect a barrier of 
D 49 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

fortresses, and as such they have all been used, 
as the ruins on their summits testify. Each is 
well worth a visit if the traveller has time to 
spare, for each has its history, its ghosts, and 
its goblins ; but the Hegau and its volcanic 
mountains mark only the entrance to the Black 
Forest, and we, knowing that the Hohentwiel 
was the limit of our experiences in this region, 
made the most of its interest and of the wide- 
spreading view of the Alps and the Black Forest 
lying before us in the light and shadow of a 
fading sunset. Afterwards, the stumble down 
through the half darkness successfully reduced 
us to a state of weariness which subdued all 
longings for the pleasures of an hotel drawing- 
room, and made the really comfortable beds of 
our simple little Gasthaus wholly acceptable. 

The next morning was to see our arrival at 
Boll per automobile. To tell the truth, the 
prospect, as held out to us by our mentor of 
the gold-braided cap, rather alarmed us. We 
were simple ramblers with simple tastes, and 
visions of Mercedes cars with haughty chauffeurs 
and a mighty bill of costs hovered before our 
mental vision. We ventured to make inquiries, 
and on hearing that the price of a four-hours' 
ride amounted to the humble amount of thirty 
marks all included our fears rather increased 
than diminished. We felt that we must have 

50 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

misunderstood, or that there was deceit in the 
business, and waited in some suspense. And 
then presently, as we stood waiting for our 
Mercedes on the doorstep of the hotel, a great 
commotion broke the peaceful morning's silence 
a shrill bugle note, then the call of a trumpet, 
such as might announce the arrival of a rescuing 
Lohengrin, then a fearful rattle and chain-clank- 
ing, and our Mercedes snorted round the corner. 
We understood then, and it must be confessed 
that our fears changed their character. Should 
we ever reach our destination alive ? But it 
was too late to consider. The Mercedes stood 
there waiting for us, for all the world like an 
animated pill-box, red in the face, and shaking 
in every bolt with impatience, the owner and 
chauffeur a most elegant man and quite the 
smartest chauffeur I have ever seen in the way 
of ' get up ' was haughtily superintending 
the difficult task of stowing away our small box 
on the minute seat beside him, and a crowd of 
solemn urchins had assembled to watch the 
departure of The Motor. 

There was no help for it, our fate was sealed 
and we could not but trust ourselves to Provi- 
dence. Our progress through Singen was 
triumphant. There being no hills to encounter, 
our little car snorted along at a high rate of 
speed possibly as much as fourteen miles an 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

hour and the loud tooting of our horn, which, 
having about ten notes in its register, achieved 
quite Wagnerian motifs, brought out half the 
town to admire and wonder. Afterwards, when 
we had left Singen behind us, and the admiring 
audience had disappeared, our pace decreased 
considerably. The horn ceased from troubling, 
and the car pulled all its eight horse-power 
together for its task. 

The country before us rose steadily, so that 
we were on our second gear the whole time, 
except when we passed through the peaceful 
villages which here and there broke the 
monotony of our road. Only the absolute sang- 
froid and confidence of our chauffeur kept us 
from despair, and it must be admitted he knew 
how to make use of every atom of his possession. 
He knew exactly how to coax her up the 
steepest encline, and when at last we reached 
the highest point of our ascent he turned and 
smiled upon us with undisguised triumph. 

" Goes well, nicht wahr ? " he said. " Ach ! 
but next year I shall have one with twenty 
horse-power, and then you will see ! " 

We expressed such admiration that his previous 
reserve melted, and he condescended to point out 
to us the beauty of our surroundings. We 
ourselves had mounted the northern end of the 
Hohen Randen. Behind us lay the Hegau with 

52 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

its rounded, sparsely wooded hills ; to the left 
the Hohen Kanden ; to the right, in the far 
distance, a dark outline of forest, and beneath us 
the valley of the Wutach. From where our 
car stood panting and shaking like a tired 
horse, the road downwards looked like a wind- 
ing ribbon, and the valley a narrow, rocky cleft, 
overshadowed by a rough growth of trees. 
There was, indeed, something perilous in our 
descent, rapid and curving as it was, but the 
brakes held good, and we felt, as we swept into 
the shade and under the great viaducts of the 
Black Forest railway, that we were really enter- 
ing into our promised land. From thence our 
road lay on the level through the wild, romantic 
valley whose acquaintance we determined to 
renew ; past the villages of Blumegg and 
Weizen, our engine all this time working with 
unwonted ease and energy. But the hour of 
its trial was yet to come ; once again came a 
big rise of open ground, the wooded ravines 
lay behind us, and slowly but steadily we 
neared the village of Bonndorf. Perhaps, thanks 
to its exposed position, the village is of compara- 
tively late origin ; once the seat of a long 
extinct nobility, it passed into the possession of 
St. Blasien and has little history of interest 
to relate. A bell in Bonndorf s coat-of-arms 
recalls a legend of a certain Fraulein von Tanegg, 

53 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

who, losing her way one wild winter's night, 
was only saved by the ringing of a prayer bell 
from the Pauliner Monastery. In gratitude 
she presented the chapel with a silver bell, but 
as monastery, town, and bell were all destroyed 
by the fires to which Bonndorf seems to have 
been unfortunately subject, no proof of the 
legend is left. As the village stands to-day, it 
offers but little interest to the traveller, and we 
passed on our way to our final destination. 

With Bonndorf we seemed to leave the last 
trace of the Hegau's unwooded land behind us 
and to enter into a new world. A narrow road, 
cut through the very heart of the Forest, led 
downwards with a threatening steepness which 
made even our chauffeur shake his head doubt- 
fully. He was the more doubtful since the 
district was new to him, and he could scarcely 
believe that there was a human habitation to 
be found in all this loneliness. In the distance 
we could hear the muffled roar of a swollen 
river, and then with a suddenness to which one 
grows gradually accustomed in the Black Forest, 
the road ended, and a pleasant-looking white- 
washed house, with ' Bad-Boll ' written in large 
letters over its inviting face, told us that our 
day's journey was at an end. 

There is nothing more agreeable than arriving 
at a genuine old Black Forest hotel. It is true 

54 



THE SOUTH-EASTERN GATE 

that there are no great comforts or luxuries, but 
the host and his wife come out to greet you 
with a kindly warmth, and display a personal, 
yet always respectful interest in your welfare, 
which does the modern traveller good, accus- 
tomed as he is to the impersonal and casual 
ways of fashionable hotel proprietors. At any 
rate we were glad enough to descend from our 
close quarters and bid our sturdy little car and 
its amiable owner farewell. Though a trifle 
bone-shaken we could honestly say that we 
owed them a few pleasant hours and a wider 
view of the country than would have been 
possible from the railway carriage both at a 
price which put us a little to shame. And thus 
my advice to any traveller who may chance to 
follow our route is this : when at Singen ask for 
Singen's motor car ! There can be no mistake 
there is but one ! 



55 



CHAPTER V 

BOLL AND THE VALLEY OF THE 
WUTACH 

LULLED by the soft, unceasing chatter of the 
river that flowed close beneath our window, and 
perhaps a trifle intoxicated by the strong air 
which had been blown to us from over the Hohen 
Randen during our breakneck motor drive, we 
spent our first night in Bad-Boll in dreamless 
sleep. I must even confess that Frau Sonne 
had already sent more than one full ray into the 
valley before we made our descent into the large, 
airy dining-room of the simple Gasthaus to 
find, to our shame, that we formed the tail of 
late risers. Yet possibly we had an excuse, for 
there is indeed something in the atmosphere of 
Bad-Boll which acts like an opiate on the ex- 
hausted nerves of town children. Even compared 
to the quiet of dreamy little Singen the peace of 
the place is at first almost numbing. The village 
lies twenty minutes away ; there is no high-road 
and not a house or cottage to lighten the sense 

56 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

of absolute loneliness ; on either hand the walls 
of the ravine for it is more ravine than valley 
rise up to six hundred feet of part rock, part 
fir-covered grandeur, completely shutting out 
the world, and only the unchanging voice of the 
mysterious Wutach breaks the silence. And 
after a time even that sound seems to pass 
away : it becomes part of the hearer's self, so 
that he ceases to notice it, and the silence 
becomes absolute. We felt, indeed, as we gazed 
about us that this was the end of the world, but 
not a sad or gloomy end. The pale Black Forest 
sunshine (the sunshine in the Black Forest is 
different from the sunshine anywhere else in the 
world), falling slantways on to the western wall 
and creeping slowly down the river, awoke such 
warm and lively colours that we felt rather that 
this end of the world belonged to an unexplored 
fairyland, and that we, having discovered it, 
had the right to claim it as our own. I fancy 
that is the feeling of most of Boll's visitors. 
The place is so little known, so little advertised, 
that its clientele is composed chiefly of ramblers 
who in past years came upon it by chance, and, 
charmed by its beauty and peace, have come 
again, bringing their friends, and growing gradu- 
ally to take a proprietary interest in its welfare. 
We realised this peculiarity on our first morning, 
for, as we stood on the steps of the hotel, un- 

57 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

decided as to which direction our first ramble 
should take, we were accosted in English by a 
middle-aged gentleman who had been watching 
us for some time with a half-friendly, half- 
suspicious interest. After having accused us 
of being strangers to the place, he asserted his 
superiority and authority by informing us that 
he had been a regular guest at Boll for the last 
twenty years, that it was the most beautiful 
spot in the Black Forest, and that he knew every 
corner of it. We ventured thereupon to inquire 
how it came about that, in spite of its retired 
position and few claims to fashionableness, Boll 
seemed so favoured by English folk himself 
included. He smiled and pointed to the river. 

" That is the reason," he said. " Once upon 
a time Boll belonged to an English fishing club, 
which still takes an interest in the place, though 
the fishing is not what it was." He shook his 
head regretfully. " Still, the trout is excellent 
you will find out that for yourselves. And, any- 
how, people who come here always come again 
if they are the right sort, of course." 

I imagined that by the ' right sort ' he meant 
genuine ramblers, people who prefer the interest 
and beauty of their surroundings to luxurious 
table d'hotes and all the details of a fashionable 
hotel life. At any rate, when we told him that 
we were but waiting for an inspiration before 

58 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

setting out on a tour of exploration, his manner 
softened and he directed us to visit the Lothen- 
bachklamm, about an hour's walk from Boll. 

"It is the most beautiful waterfall in the 
Black Forest," he reiterated proudly. 

The prospect of a two-hours' ramble before 
dinner pleased our fancy. We bade our en- 
thusiastic Englishman farewell, and leaving him 
engaged with his fishing tackle, we proceeded 
along the narrow road down which our motor- 
car had brought us the previous day. For ten 
minutes our way led upwards through a green 
glade of pine and fir, then, guided by the kindly 
signposts which never fail the traveller even in 
the most lonely regions of the Black Forest, we 
turned to the left and once more our view 
opened out on to the Wutach, now a hundred 
feet or so beneath us. From thence our road 
curved gracefully downwards to the river bank, 
and if the reader wonders at this up-and-down 
route, he need only consider the nature of the 
valley to understand w T hy it is that only here 
and there has it been possible for the indefati- 
gable Schwarzwald Verein to win a pathway 
at the side of the unruly Wutach. For the 
valley is more or less the work of the river, a 
cleft cut through the soft chalk rock by the 
waters, and consequently in places so narrow, so 
wild and rugged, that there is scarcely more than 

59 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

a foothold left for the traveller, who in earlier 
days had either to wade his way as best he could, 
or keep to the road above the valley, contenting 
himself with an occasional glimpse into the abyss 
beneath. Hence it is not surprising that in 
spite of its unusual length it is the longest 
river in the Black Forest, measuring 112 kilo- 
metres and its many unusual characteristics, 
it remains one of the least known and one of 
the least visited. Taking its source on the 
heights of the Feldberg, and bearing the names 
of Rothwasser and Seebach, it flows into the 
Titisee, and from thence north-east, this time 
re-christened, as is the bewildering habit of 
Black Forest rivers, with the name ' Gutach.' 
As it at last chooses its final course south-east, 
Gutach becomes ' Wutach,' and under that 
name the river and its valley take on a character 
of romantic ruggedness. In spite of its extreme 
inaccessibility, it has known habitation, as the 
ruins on its rocky walls testify. Two castles, 
those of Stallegg and Neublumberg, are to be met 
on the road from Boll to the village of Gosch- 
weiler, but time and history have dealt hardly 
with both, for little is left to see and still less to 
relate. I confess that Stallegg seemed likely to 
remain terra incognita for us, it lying beyond a 
comfortable day's ramble, and had it not been 
for our English mentor but sufficient for the 

60 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

day is the pleasure thereof; and on this, our 
first day in Boll, our adventurous spirit took 
us no farther than the Lothenbachklamm. Our 
pleasant winding road having brought us once 
more to the river's edge, we paused a moment to 
consider the Schatten Miihle (Shadow Mill), so 
called because it is left sunless throughout the 
long winter, and then turned to the left up 
a mossy pathway. A merry, impatient little 
brook, hurrying on its way to join the Wutach, 
acted unconsciously as our guide, and a few 
minutes later the peaceful glade through which 
we" were making our way closed in ; our path 
mounted steadily up along a rocky wall in 
whose crevices a wonderful luxuriant growth of 
rare ferns and forest flowers had managed to 
find root. Below us our harmless brook revealed 
itself as a stormy torrent cascading from fall to 
fall, churning itself in a white foam of rage 
against the polished rock, and swirling over the 
trunks of fallen pine trees which barred its path. 
From one side of this little ravine to the other 
it could not have measured more than a few 
yards, and the spray brushing our faces hung 
on the ferns, and danced like tiny diamonds 
through the sunshine which here and there had 
managed to creep its way amidst the over- 
shadowing pines. We stood a moment in rapt 
delight, and I ventured to remark that the 

61 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

scenery reminded me of the Wolfs Schlucht in 
Weber's Freischiitz, that, in fact, it reminded me 
strongly of theatre decorations ; whereupon, as 
I might have expected, my German friend sniffed 
contemptuously. 

" English people are so artificial in their taste 
that they can see nothing without the medium 
of art," she declared. " If you must make 
comparisons why don't you say that theatre 
decorations remind you of this ? " But being 
incurably English I continued in my way of 
thinking, and, indeed, the Lothenbachklamm is, 
in its minuteness, so perfect, so worked out in 
every detail, that it is scarcely possible to 
believe that careless Nature and not an artist 
hand seeking for ' effect ' has carved the rocks 
and planted the ferns, and arranged the dark 
fir trees for a background with such seeming 
cunning. Even animal life has not been for- 
gotten in the scheme of things. A gorgeous 
butterfly, coming apparently from nowhere, has 
chosen out the flaring red fruit of a wild straw- 
berry on which to rest its wings ; a lizard of 
many changing hues flashes across the path and 
hesitates, like a stone image, on a jutting rock 
above the torrent, and one wonders, being 
English, is it done on purpose, is there not some 
wily stage-manager behind the scenes pulling 
the wires for our delectation ? But, as may be 

62 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

imagined, I kept this sacrilegious thought to 
myself and followed my critic, who by this time 
had reached the top of the ' klamm ' and was 
considering the possibilities of a path which, 
tending due east, promised to return to Boll. 
It fulfilled its promise, but, alas ! the season was 
still young, the path untrodden, the grasses 
long, and rain, as usual, had been of recent date. 
Hence it was in a sodden and somewhat uncom- 
fortable condition that we presently found our- 
selves back on the high-road. And to this 
incident hangs a moral take with you, 
rambler, as many pairs of stout waterproof 
boots as your purse can buy and your luggage 
allows! Well kept as the Black Forest paths 
usually are, there are still places where one 
stands in need of stout footwear, especially in 
the less travelled regions which we are now 
exploring ; and in addition to this, as our 
offering to the capricious weather god I venture 
to advise a mantle of the well-known ' Loden ' 
material. The latter is light, warm, and water- 
proof, and adds immensely to one's general 
comfort, as we discovered after three or four 
drenchings and as many unpleasant experiences 
with the ordinary mackintosh. At any rate, 
the condition of our shoe department warned us 
that ordinary walking material was of little 
good for our requirements, and that, same day, 

63 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

having sought the advice of our kindly hostess, 
we made our way in the direction of Bonndorf, 
the one possible shopping-place of the district. 
The time was not wasted, however, for the path 
which leads up from the left of the ordinary 
road is pleasantly shaded with fir and silver 
beech, and gives the wanderer, every here and 
there, a glimpse into narrow ravines, overgrown 
with moss and wild shrub which seem to cling 
to the rocks by sheer force of will, and to have 
their roots no one knows where. To the right 
of the path, half hidden by the trees, we dis- 
covered the ruins of Burg Boll. Only a few 
walls remain of what was once the home of 
defence of the knights of Bell. The race appears 
to have died out in the fourteenth century and 
the property to have fallen into the hands of 
their neighbours of Schloss Tanegg, but how the 
Burg came to be destroyed no one knows. 
Probably a collapse of the rocks on which the 
place is built offers the best explanation. 

A few minutes' walk brought us to the village 
of Boll, a quiet little nest which, if one may 
judge from the inscriptions in the churchyard, 
has remained for generations in the hands of 
three or four families. Straight through the 
village our road led us up over the brow of a 
hill, and once again it seemed to us that we had 
left the Black Forest behind us and were once 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

more in the region of the Hegau. Before us 
an endless stretch of undulating ground rolled 
southwards, broken here and there by a patch 
of wooded land, and only when we turned to 
look back on the road we had come could we 
believe in the proximity of the Forest. From 
beneath us in the valley it stretched out to 
the gray horizon, a seemingly black, unbroken 
shadow, and yet we knew well enough the 
countless valleys, rivers, mountains, and chasms 
which it hid in its apparent monotony, and felt 
for the first time the awe which the Black 
Forest can inspire. It seemed, indeed, to us in 
that moment very black, the abode of strange 
spirits and wild beasts, a place of dark wonders 
and mystery ; and possibly we should have 
stood there dreaming ourselves into a thoroughly 
' creepy ' state had not the boots recalled us to 
our duty. Ten minutes' walk over the brow of 
the hill brought us to Bonndorf itself. After a 
few inquiries we discovered the shop of which 
we were in search, and out of the midst of 
sugar-candy, coloured handkerchiefs, sausages, 
and cheese, succeeded in obtaining our require- 
ments. I feel it only just to mention in con- 
sideration of their service, that they were and 
are the most wonderful boots I have ever 
bought. They cost nine marks, are indestruct- 
ible, comfortable, watertight and hideous. 
E 65 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

But the latter feature is easy to forgive in the 
Black Forest, where only utility counts and 
fashionable clothes are almost a breach of good 
taste. 

Having partaken of a cup of coffee at the 
Gasthaus zur Post, we left Bonndorf and its 
rustic Whiteley's behind us, and started on our 
way home. The threatening clouds of the after- 
noon had now dispersed, and tempted by the 
evening sunshine we ventured along a path 
which, after the wanderer has passed the Boll 
ruins, turns abruptly to the left, and leading 
over a half-dried-up waterfall brings him to the 
Castle of Tanegg. Here also history maintains 
a silence which we hope speaks well for the 
castle's possessors, who seem to have changed 
many times, until at last the religious orders in 
St. Blasien, always on the alert for such ' bon 
bouches,' pounced on the lordless property and 
made it their own. From the ruin downward 
the path leads back to the valley of the Wutach, 
which here has broadened out somewhat and 
taken on a momentary appearance of almost 
pastoral peace. But the appearance is decep- 
tive, as we learnt on the following day. For a 
quarter of an hour after we had left Bad-Boll, 
the path along the right bank of the river 
offered no difficulties, but beyond the point 
which we had reached on our return from Burg 

66 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

Tanegg the valley closes in abruptly ; on the 
right hand towers a jagged precipice, against 
whose base the Wutach churns in impatient 
fury, making the continuation of the path an 
apparent impossibility. Until a short time 
ago this part of the Wutach was closed to the 
ordinary rambler, and only an occasional angler, 
taking the chance offered by a low state of the 
river, ventured to wade his way round the bends 
and explore the solitudes beyond. Then came 
the indefatigable Schwarzwald Verein and built 
the costly and arduous Neumann's Weg, a narrow 
path cut out of the face of the precipice and 
guarded at the edge by a slender wooden rail. 
The place, though absolutely safe in daylight, has 
already claimed its victims. The fall of the 
first, a young peasant, is attributed to a too 
jubilant condition, but a cloud of mystery veils 
the second accident, and the death of a young 
Englishman, who was found lying on a rock 
at the foot of the precipice, has been vaguely 
connected with robbery and murder and other 
horrors. The spot is certainly lonely and wild 
enough to foster fancies of that kind, though 
I confess that we experienced no adventure 
of particularly thrilling qualities. At first, 
rising by roughly hewn stone steps, the path 
reaches almost the summit of the precipice, 
then, winding round the face of the rock, descends 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

into a shadowy glade, and leads across an iron 
bridge to the left bank of the river. Before we 
reached our destination, the Wutach Mill, we 
crossed the river three times, the third time 
pausing a moment to watch the Wutach, which 
at this point, in fact, disappears into a cavity at 
the base of the rock. Had we not known of this 
phenomena we should probably have passed it 
by unnoticed, for the cavity lies so low that the 
swiftly running waters touch the roof, and only a 
sharp eye can discern its existence. Farther on 
we passed the turning which leads away from the 
Wutach to the village of Bachheim, but the love 
of adventure was on us and the increasing loneli- 
ness of the valley tempted us on. Once again a 
bridge brought us on to the right bank, where 
the path had been cut at the base of the cliff, 
so that, with the towering rock on one hand and 
the river on the other, a single-file progress 
became necessary. A few paces farther on the 
Wutach reappears from its long, underground 
journey and rushes out from beneath the cliff 
with a triumphant roar. To the left a wooden 
bridge leads into the Gauchachschlucht 
(Gauchach's Gorge), and our good angel sug- 
gesting to us that this new road might offer 
new attractions, we were about to cross the 
river and track its territory, the Gauchach, as 
far as the Loch Miihle, when an evil genius, in 

68 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

the form of a well-meaning friend, who was 
wading about in midstream in the hope of 
deceiving hungry trout, began a eulogy on the 
merits of the Wutach Miihle, a quarter of an 
hour farther on the road. We protested that 
we were tired and had not the slightest desire 
to go back the same somewhat arduous way as 
we had come, but our enthusiastic friend, as is 
the fashion with such folk, remained obdurate. 

" You will be able to get dinner and a carriage 
at the Mill," he said. "The drive home over 
Bonndorf is delightful." 

We were weak, and from this point our 
experiences are related simply with the purpose 
of explaining ' how not to do it.' Had we 
obeyed our first impulse we should have had 
a pleasant walk through a charming valley 
passing on the way the Burg Mtihle, made 
celebrated by Scheffel's "Juniperus" to the 
Loch Miihle, and from thenoe, wandering off 
from the Gauchach through wooded land and 
pasture, reached Doggingen. At Doggingen the 
railway takes the rambler to Reiselfingen, an 
hour's walk from Bad-Boll over the Schatten 
Miihle. All this we discovered later on and 
only after bitter experience. For in the matter 
of rambles, as in everything else, taste differs, 
and it must be admitted that the continuation 
of the Wutach Valley and the Wutach Mill 

69 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

offered no particular attraction. The valley 
widens out and loses its romance and rugged 
grandeur. The Mill is a mill like hundreds of 
others, and the promised carriage proved a delu- 
sion ; or, rather, the carriage existed substantially 
enough, but the horses were missing, which, as 
mine host shrewdly observed, was a decided ob- 
jection to our plan of being driven home. 

"However, you will find carriages at Ewat- 
tingen," he said hopefully; "a quarter of an 
hour up that hill and there you are ! " 

Now my German friend is of an optimistic 
temperament, and in spite of repeated deceptions 
she still believes trustingly in her fellow-creatures 
and their ' quarters of an hour/ 

Wearied in body, and haunted by a vague 
distrust, I followed her up the steep hill through 
the midday sun, counting the minutes, which 
reached thirty, before a church spire told us 
that Ewattingen was really in sight. 

" Now, you see," said my German friend, 
" our troubles are at an end." 

She was mistaken. The hostess of the little 
Gasthaus where we sought information shook 
her head with maddening cheerfulness. 

" Ach ! ja," she said, " there are carriages 
enough, but there isn't a horse in the village. 
They are all in the fields, you know. Where 
have you come from ? " 

70 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

We told her, and she looked at us with kindly, 
half-pitying wonder. It appeared that the good 
old soul had never been outside her native vil- 
lage, and it is certain that she thought us a 
little mad. Possibly, therefore, it was compas- 
sion for our obviously weak mental state which 
made her send inquiries through the whole 
village, and presently she returned to us with 
her withered, furrowed old face bright with 
enthusiasm. 

" An ox-wagon is going to the fields towards 
Miinchingen," she said. " If you would like to 
use that, it will take you on your way." 

" How far is Bpnndorf from Miinchingen ? " I 
inquired. 

She smiled a vague, sweet smile. 

" Ach ! Fraulein, a little half-hour, no more." 

We followed her out into the street, where 
a crowd of bare-footed little urchins awaited 
our departure with profound interest. The ox- 
wagon a Leiterwagen, as it is called was 
also there, harnessed, not to oxen but to cows, 
who appeared to join dreamily in the general 
amusement. Now a Black Forest Leiterwagen 
is a vehicle of peculiar build. Take two long 
ladders with the rungs well apart, fasten them 
slantways on either side of a narrow plank, so 
that they form a kind of barricade, attach four 
wheels to this erection, and your carriage is 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

complete. These Leiterwagen are used to trans- 
port hay from the fields, and are not intended 
for the use of weary travellers, as we soon 
discovered. With kindly consideration our 
hostess spread newspapers over the bottom of 
the cart, and instructed us how we were to sit 
with our feet dangling through the rungs of a 
ladder. I cannot blame the yokel who drove us 
for the half- smothered guffaw which I am certain 
I heard eminate from his direction, for we must 
have made a striking picture as we jolted out of 
the village at the rate of two miles an hour. 
My German friend, though she was as hungry 
and weary as myself, gloried in the situation, 
but my good humour wholly deserted me. I 
felt injured, and my sense of injury increased 
with her good spirits, so that it was with a 
positively spiteful satisfaction that a quarter of 
an hour later I heard our charioteer inform her, 
in his strongest dialect, that our ways parted 
and that we must go on foot. 

"And how far is Bonndorf?" my German 
friend inquired cheerfully, as she pressed a 
silver piece of gratitude into his horny palm. 
It was clear that she expected Bonndorf to be 
* just round the corner.' 

Our friend scratched his head thoughtfully. 

" Maybe three hours," he said. " It's straight 
on you can't miss the way. A little over three 

72 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

hours," he added, as he turned his attention to 
his team. 

The rest is silence. We reached Bad-Boll 
three hours later, having been rescued on the 
hot, dusty high-road by a most shaky but most 
welcome vehicle, which in its distant youth 
might have been a gentleman's victoria and 
had sunk to the position of a village maid-of- 
all-work. Our good-natured Lohengrin took us 
as far as Bonndorf, and from thence we resumed 
our trudge to Boll, thankful, but chastened in 
spirit, and hungry past all expression. Only 
after a good dinner were we able to ' fight our 
battles o'er again/ and it was fortunate for our 
angling friend that he appeared after the last 
course, otherwise our friendship might have 
ended there and then. Thus ended our rambles 
down-stream. 

The Wutach continues on its changing way 
past the ruins of Schloss-Blumegg, once the 
residence of a powerful race, to Grimmelshofen. 
From Grimmelshofen the valley loses its 
interesting character, and the traveller can 
make use of the railway, which is of com- 
paratively recent construction, and which, with 
its spiral tunnels, forms one of the most interest- 
ing engineering features of the Black Forest, 
without fear of losing any scenic beauties. For 
our part we turned our attention westwards, 

73 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

and after having impatiently waited through 
two days of bad weather, started one fine 
morning along the road towards the Schatten 
Muhle. The tour which we had planned for 
ourselves was calculated to require more than 
five hours' steady walking, so, warned by previous 
experiences, we took refreshment with us, thus 
making ourselves independent of doubtful inns. 

We had already traversed the ground as far 
as the Schatten Muhle ; at this point we crossed 
the bridge, and, after two and a quarter hours' 
walking, reached the ruins of what the natives 
call the Rauberschlossle (Robber's Castle), which 
is situated on the Nagelefelsen, and from whence 
a beautiful view can be obtained of the valley 
beneath. At this point it occurred to us that 
our eatables were getting cumbersome and 
that the situation merited half an hour's inter- 
mezzo, an idea which was immediately acted 
upon. Only a general distrust of guide-books 
aroused us from our pleasant dreams amongst 
the ruins, for though we were informed that the 
rest of our road required only two hours, ' we 
had our doots.' However, true to guide-book 
calculation, after two hours we reached the 
Schwendiholzdobel Bridge, which ought to be 
famous if only on account of its breakneck 
name, and had the pleasure of being introduced 
to the Wutach, under its new name of Gutach. 

74 



BOLL AND VALLEY OF WUTACH 

The river Haslach streams in from the left, but 
our path lay onward by the banks of our re- 
christened friend till half an hour later we 
reached the railway bridge the biggest stone 
bridge in Germany and crossing to the right 
bank attained our destination, Kappel. Kappel 
proved to be a small village, offering little 
accommodation to the hungry and weary, so 
that, in spite of a fine view over to the heights 
of the Feldberg, we determined on a last effort. 
Half an hour along the dusty high-road brought 
us to Lenzkirch, and there, indeed, our courage 
was rewarded. For this pleasant little summer 
resort has an appearance of peaceful prosperity 
which is most restful, and which, combined with 
a good meal at the Gasthaus zum Adler, success- 
fully restored us to a state of ' sweet content.' 
Not that we despised the yellow ' post-chaise ' 
which was to carry us back to Bonndorf, for our 
energy was of a subdued kind, and we parted 
from Lenzkirch with a reluctance based, I fear, 
on a certain inclination not to bestir ourselves. 
Still, two and a half hours in a shaky Black 
Forest post-chaise is calculated to satisfy the 
most lazy, and Bonndorf once reached we were 
perfectly satisfied to descend and stretch our 
cramped limbs in the short walk back to Bad- 
Boll. We had come to look upon the cleanly, 
comfortable, if unpretentious little Gasthaus 

75 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

very much in the light of a home, and it was 
with real regret that we remembered that the 
next day was to witness our departure for 
pastures new. In gratitude for one of the most 
pleasant weeks spent in the Black Forest, I feel 
it only right to recommend the rambler to seek 
this little-known spot that is to say, if he is 
in need of peace, beautiful walks, and a fine, 
invigorating air. And if he is something of 
a sportsman, so much the better, for there is 
fishing in abundance ; and even the huntsman 
will find occupation enough in the surrounding 
forest. Many weeks could be spent in Bad-Boll 
without monotony provided the visitor is 
armed with a sufficient library to while away the 
rainy days but our plans forbade us making 
the experiment, and on the same evening of our 
walk to Lenzkirch we bade our various friends 
good-bye. Our angling friend looked at us 
pityingly, he was there for two months, our 
English acquaintance turned his back on us. I 
think he looked upon our departure as a personal 
insult. 



CHAPTER VI 
ST. BLASIEN AND THE ALB VALLEY 

RARELY did we bless the sunshine more than 
on the following morning when, at eight o'clock, 
our host informed us that the carriage waited. 
For we had decided on the extravagance of a long 
drive to our next stopping-place, and the whole 
joy thereof lay in the hands of the weather- 
god. Fortunately he was in a holiday mood, 
and it was with the sense of pleasurable antici- 
pation that we took our places in the comfortable 
victoria and bade Bad-Boll farewell. The whole 
household had turned out to witness our depar- 
ture, and for once in a way we felt justified in 
flattering ourselves that it was not only thoughts 
of likely ' Trinkgelder ' which aroused this in- 
terest, but that the host's handshake and * God- 
speed ' had the value of genuine kindly feeling. 
At any rate, useless as such gifts are on such 
occasions, we treasured the bouquet of wild 
flowers offered us at the last moment by a small 
member of the family until its faded condition 

77 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

compelled us to consign it to the roadside a 
dark deed of ingratitude which we fondly hoped 
escaped the eye of our driver. 

In spite of our two sturdy horses our progress 
along the hilly roads promised to be a slow one, 
and on that account the more enjoyable, for 
though professed pedestrians we could not shut 
our hearts against the unalloyed pleasure of 
watching the lovely wooded country slip past 
us without any exertion or worry on our parts. 
Tndeed, if I might once more commit the error 
of proffering advice, I would suggest that the 
traveller, when journeying from one place to 
another, should first inquire concerning the 
driving accommodation before consigning himself 
to the railway. I am supposing that the 
traveller is not a fanatic rambler that is to say, 
a person determined to do it all on foot, with 
the barest toilette necessities strapped in a 
bundle to his back but a person who likes to 
go his way in average comfort, in which case 
it is very often cheaper and certainly more 
agreeable to drive than to go by rail. Our 
journey to St. Blasien is a case in point. Had 
we chosen the latter course we should have had 
to drive to Bonndorf, undergo a long, zigzag 
railway journey, and at the end had an expensive 
drive from the nearest station to St. Blasien. 
As it was, we paid the comparatively small sum 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

of twenty marks, and were transported with all 
our oods and chattels to our destination in the 

o 

utmost comfort. The new insight which it gave 
us into the beauty of the country alone made 
the drive worth while. 

After we left Bonndorf behind us the character 
of the scenery seemed imperceptibly to change. 
It was no longer the wild, almost jungle-like 
grandeur of the Wutach Valley, and yet it 
became more ' typical ' ; the Black Forest, as we 
already knew it from previous rambles, seemed 
to be closing us in on all sides. Even when our 
carriage reached the highest points of land we 
found no open country breaking the shadow of 
forest-land which stretched to the horizon, and 
already on the winding, sometimes grass-grown 
road we felt that first genuine touch of shadow 
and mystery which has made the Black Forest 
a place of legend and fairy-tale. Not that the 
shady avenues offered us as yet the final im- 
penetrable, sunless darkness to which the Forest 
owes its name. Leafy birch and silver beech 
mingled with the more solemn olive of the pines, 
and the cool morning sunshine, falling aslant 
between the branches, lit up an undergrowth of 
moss and giant fern. We passed few villages 
on our way, and the usual broken train of 
ramblers and carriages failed wholly. We were, 
in fact, following an unusual route, one alto- 

79 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

gether ignored by guide-books, but not the less 
beautiful for that, and we allowed the absolute 
peace and quiet to work like a charm upon our 
mood. 

Not that we were altogether alone. With 
silent touch on the arm and a pointed finger 
we drew each other's attention to the squirrels 
scuttling noiselessly up the trunks of the trees, 
to the deer which here and there trotted out 
of the heart of the Forest to watch us with a 
curiously fearless interest. I have heard Black 
Forest detracters declare that there is no animal 
life to be found there, and that the Forest never 
hears the sound of a bird's note. During this 
drive to St. Blasien we gathered evidence enough 
to refute this statement, though I confess that 
the animal life is of a quiet kind perhaps 
not obvious enough for the tourist. At first 
glance, as it were, nothing moves, everything 
about you is wrapped in a profound hush. 
Then first you begin to hear the music among 
the pine-tops, and gradually sounds seem to 
rise up around you out of the stillness the call 
of the ring-doves, the far-off voice of the cuckoo, 
and suddenly the full song of the thrush. The 
thrush is the great singer of the Black Forest 
possibly, with the blackbird, the only singer, 
for therein the tourist has truth on his side 
the forest singers are few. Possibly the 

80 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

shadows are too deep for them, or, still more 
likely, the companionship of the birds of prey 
too threatening. For it is certain that the 
nightingale whose song once made Freiburg 
and the surrounding country famous has been 
entirely destroyed by the rapacity of the 
blackbird, and though the blackbird is scarcely 
a bird of prey, her tricks of thieving and 
ruthlessly destroying makes her almost as 
dangerous. Falcons, too, abound, especially 
about the walls of old ruins, and owls are 
the plentiful causes of the gloomy superstitions 
among the peasants, who look upon them as 
sure omens of a coming death. And there 
is the famous Auerhahn, the speciality of the 
Black Forest, of whom I shall speak later 
when we come to his region. And the stork ! 
I suppose a whole volume could be written 
about the patron saint of South Germany 
for that is about what he amounts to. You 
will find him and his family in almost every 
village in the valleys and occasionally in the 
mountains, and wherever he deigns to settle 
himself and his belongings he is looked upon 
with the greateat respect and treated like a 
prince who has come from far-off lands for 
a summer ' Kur ' with his princess. Possibly 
this love and respect with which Herr Storch 
is regarded is owing to the fact that he is a 
F 81 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

reputed importer of babies at any rate, his 
nest is always prepared for him upon his 
favourite roof, and the house upon whose 
chimney he has cast favourable eyes is as 
good as blessed with every blessing. On the 
whole, the animal world of the Black Forest 
is of a harmless enough kind. Wolves and 
bears breathed their last a hundred years ago, 
and the few wild boars which remain are hard 
to find, and unless irritated entirely inoffensive. 
The stag is also a rarity, but deer are often 
to be seen in the shady glades and seem com- 
paratively at their ease in the presence of 
mankind. The squirrel, too, is a constant 
apparition, as also the hare, and in the region 
of rivers and brooks the otter makes himself 
unpopular by competing with the hotel-keepers 
in the matter of trout, thereby sending up the 
price of that delicacy by leaps and bounds. 
Not that I look on trout any longer as a 
delicacy, for the Black Forest traveller has the 
little fish served up to him every Thursday 
and Sunday (German hotel feast-days) with 
a wearying regularity which begets contempt, 
not to say distaste. However, there are worse 
things in the Black Forest than trout. There 
are snakes ! I have often met them in the 
course of my rambles, and after the first shock 
can look upon them with a friendly interest. 

82 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

For the most part they are harmless adders, 
sometimes attaining about four feet in length, 

o O ' 

and, like the salamanders and lizards which are 
to be found everywhere, change their colours 
when angered. And it is quite safe to anger 
them if you feel inclined to experiment, for 
their bite is non-poisonous. The one and only 
dangerous element is the common viper, which, 
paradoxically, is uncommon enough to make 
the danger of an almost negligible quality. I 
am now wandering in the realm of hearsay, 
for, personally, I have never met one of the 
gentry, but for safety's sake it is well, when 
on a sunny moor or in a ruin, to look round 
and make sure that an ugly flat head is not 
raised to strike. As a compensation for these 
possible unpleasantnesses there are the living 
flowers the butterflies. There was a time when 
their beauty and profusion tempted me to 
purchase a net and a tin lethal chamber and 
go a-hunting, but in the end I gave it up. 
Possibly I am not scientific enough as the 
reader may have discovered to enjoy destruc- 
tion for scientific reasons, possibly I thought 
it a pity to deprive the world of so much 
living loveliness, possibly I found it too ex- 
hausting. At any rate, the 2200 species, some 
of them unique, which have their home in the 
South Black Forest, have nothing more to fear 

83 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

from me, and I am afraid I have not the heart 
to encourage a prospective butterfly-catcher to 
follow my earlier barbaric footsteps. The un- 
happy creature, with a pin stuck through its 
delicate body, which adorns a glass case is 
nothing like so beautiful as the blue-winged 
wonder perched on the edge of a flower, with 
a background of green forest to throw up its 
rich colours into lovelier relief. My last word 
on the subject of life in the Black Forest 
belongs to the bee, who, like the stork, seems 
particularly connected with that country. But 
the rambler who knows the pine-honey will 
understand me, and the rambler who does not 
know it should make its acquaintance at the 
earliest possible date. 

But the sight of the deer has led me very 
far from the road, and meanwhile the sun has 
risen high into the heavens and our two patient 
horses have drawn us up on to the high ground 
by Rothaus (famous for its brewery), and below 
us we see the winding road, which leads to 
our halting-place, Schluchsee. Another half- 
hour's drive brings us to the village (2858 feet), 
a charming little place ; with reason, one of 
the most popular of Black Forest resorts. It 
lies within full view of the lake, and from the 
verandah of the Gasthaus, where we stopped for 
the refreshment of our horses, and incidentally 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALE VALLEY 

for our dinner, we could look straight over 
the unruffled waters to the farther banks. 
As has been said, none of the Black Forest 
lakes attain any serious dimensions, but 
though the Schluchsee has nothing to offer as 
regards length and breadth, and lacks wholly 
the gloomy mystery and grandeur of a 
Feldsee, it has none the less its own charm 
and character. The banks run smoothly to 
the water's edge, there are no rocks or cliffs, 
only peaceful wooded stretches with here and 
there an open space of the gorse-grown land. 
In August, when the heather is in full bloom, 
the contrast in colour between the olive of 
the pine, the brilliant purple blossom, and the 
dark surface of the lake make a striking and 
beautiful effect. Yet in August the crowded 
hotels and the general atmosphere of ' holiday- 
making' spoil the peace and retirement of the 
place, so that we were well content to see the 
Schluchsee in its early summer dress. As it 
was, the village was already astir with guests, 
automobiles, bearing day visitors from St. 
Blasien, which stirred up the dust in the 
high-road ; the lake was dotted with little 
boats, and from the number of amateur anglers 
who passed the open verandah on which we 
were partaking of the inevitable trout, we 
judged that the lake offered excellent fishing. 

85 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

On the whole a charming place in itself, with 
invigorating air and beautiful surroundings, but 
a trifle too near the big centres such was our 
judgment, and being people not too fond of 
fellow- creatures in large quantities, we were 
willing enough to move on. 

A pleasant drive brought us in the early 
afternoon to St. Blasien, and already when 
half an hour away from our destination our 
quiet-loving hearts began to sink with mis- 
giving. We had heard a great deal of St. 
Blasien (2316 feet), of its lovely situation, its 
fine air and romantic history, and it was there- 
fore rather foolish, not to say egoistical, of us 
to expect to have it all to ourselves. Certainly 
its popularity was obvious. Monstrous over- 
laden tripper motor-cars, carriages, fashionable 
pedestrians, and stout Kurhaus guests met us 
on the road with increasing frequency, and by 
the time the dome of St. Blasien's church rose 
in sight, we were prepared for the worst. 

The unfortunate part about rambles described 
from personal experiences is that the writer is 
bound to mention the disappointing experiences 
with the good, and it is always possible that 
his judgment of a place is influenced by an 
unlucky constellation of circumstances entirely 
peculiar to himself. At any rate, I hope I am 
not doing St. Blasien an injustice, or keeping 

86 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

a possible admirer from her regions by saying 
that I, personally, was glad when we left the 
valley behind us, and were able to look back 
on the town so beautiful from a distance in 
un regretting farewell. Certainly we were un- 
fortunate in St. Blasien, and our misfortunes 
began at once. In the first place, we could find 
no rooms in the Kurhaus. Our friend of the 
guide-book would tell us that that at least was 
entirely our own fault, that one must always 
book rooms in advance, etc. etc. ; but we had 
a rooted objection to binding ourselves, and 
though, as on this occasion, this happy-go-lucky 
system has its disadvantages, it has also its more 
weighty advantages, as the St. Blasien episode 
eventually proved. We found rooms in another 
hotel, but the overcrowded dining-room, the 
newly evacuated bedrooms, the general atmo- 
sphere of bustle and confusion soured our 
temper, and my German friend, who when 
roused is wholly indifferent to ordinary con- 
siderations, was for hoisting our boxes back 
on to the carriage and fleeing anywhere, so long 
as it was far from this { fashionable health resort.' 
However, reason prevailed, and after a gloomy 
tea we proceeded to explore our new surround- 
ings. Our first visit was to the church, and 
my German friend, who had been storing her 
mind with historical reminiscences, recovered her 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

temper somewhat in the satisfaction of airing 
her wisdom over my ignorance. 

It appeared from her account that St. Blasien 
was one of the oldest and most important clerical 
centres of the Black Forest, and certainly her 
history typifies the whole history of the part 
played by the religious orders in these regions. 
At first, as we have seen in one of the first 
' instructive chapters,' the part was beneficial 
enough. 

Somewhere in the ninth century a party of 
monks, fleeing from the Huns, laid the first 
foundations of the future monastery, and having 
rescued the bones of St. Blasius from their 
pursuers, their place of refuge obtained already 
in those days a certain odour of sanctity. The 
danger past, however, these first pioneers ap- 
parently wearied of the loneliness and took their 
departure, leaving nothing behind them but the 
least important section of the holy skeleton. 
Thus for a few years St. Blasien languished. 
Then came the extraordinary and for our 
modern ideas scarcely conceivable tide of re- 
ligious fanaticism, which swept the richest and 
greatest out of their worldly places into a life 
of solitude and renunciation. One of these 
world-weary folk, a certain Eitter von Selden- 
beuren, discovered in St. Blasien a fitting place 
for his retirement, and having increased the 

88 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

dimensions of the monastery, endowed it with 
considerable wealth. For some reason the place 
drew the attention of the Emperor Otto IL, 
who bestowed great riches upon the monastery, 
which already had begun to exert a less bene- 
ficial authority over its surroundings. With 
the members of the highest nobility for its 
adherents, and an Imperial prince for its abbot, 
St. Blasien resembled more a royal court than 
a monastery, and luxury, greed, and cruelty took 
the place of the virtues for which it had been 
once famous. History even relates that the 
noble monks did not disdain violence and war 
and like methods for obtaining the possessions 
of their less powerful neighbours. It followed, 
as a natural consequence, that in the Peasants' 
War of 1525, St. Blasien was one of the first 
to pay the price of its transgressions, and the 
monastery was burnt to the ground. The same 
fate pursued it in the Thirty Years' War, and 
only under the abbot, Prince Martin, was it 
once more restored, this time in Italian style, 
and after the model of the Pantheon in Rome. 
A family vault for the members of the Habsburg 
house was erected in its midst, but in 1807 the 
abbot was finally deposed and the monastery 
converted into a manufactory. Even to-day, 
though the State has done much to restore it 
to its old splendour, the church, whose great 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

dome stands out picturesquely against the 
dark green of the surrounding forest, is spoilt 
by the close proximity of the cotton- mill, and 
its effect is most striking from the heights of 
one of the enclosing mountains. 

Having done our duty towards St. Blasien's 
ecclesiastical past, we spent the rest of the 
evening in the crowded streets and in grumbling. 
In truth St. Blasien is neither one thing nor 
another ; it is too big for a village, too small for 
a town ; too fashionable for the simple rambler, 
not fashionable enough or amusing .enough for 
the ordinary society pleasure-seeker. Needless 
to say, there are pleasant shady walks in the 
neighbourhood, carefully laid out for the con- 
venience of the guests, for the most part Germans 
of a rather objectionable class, but the very 
orderliness and comfort of these set walks takes 
away all charm. It is impossible to get away 
from one's fellow-creatures, and one seems to 
live in an unchanging atmosphere of hotel life. 
And the hotel life in such places as St. Blasien 
suffers from the complaint I have already 
mentioned. It has none of the simple, homely 
delights of Bad-Boll, and it falls far below the 
standard set by the people requiring the first 
and the best. Moreover, the prices, though not 
exorbitant about 12 marks a day are fairly 
high, considering what is offered, and I have 

90 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

always found that in smaller places in the 
Black Forest, where the average pension runs 
from 7 marks to 9 marks, according to the 
room and the season, the food is better and 
the people more attentive. I might mention, 
for the benefit of the rambler whose purse is 
not the longest, that there are certain little 
Gasthauser in the Black Forest where really 
good food and spotless cleanliness can be 
obtained for 4 '50 a day. The menu comprises 
a breakfast of coffee, rolls, butter, and honey, 
a dinner of soup, fish, meat, and a simple 
pudding, and a supper of meat and cheese. 
Wine, is cheap and good especially the open 
wine, which can be had from 60 pfennig the 
litre. Butter, milk, and honey are excellent 
everywhere, and the smaller the place the more 
the rambler can reckon on absolute cleanliness. 
In such places as St. Blasien, where carpets and 
the regulation plush furniture take the place 
of the bare necessaries of a Bad-Boll, he has 
reason to be more wary, though I have, personally, 
nothing serious to complain of. 

It is only fair at this juncture of my some- 
what unfavourable criticism concerning popular 
St. Blasien, to state that the place is in itself 
beautiful and worth visiting. Only, the visitor 
should choose the very early season, when there 
are fewer people and the atmosphere less 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

oppressive. Its closed in and sheltered position 
makes St. Blasien an admirable resort for the 
middle of June and even earlier, whereas in 
late July and August it has a decided tendency 
to stuffiness. For our part we determined on 
a short stay but a busy one, and the following 
day, being somewhat oppressed by the heat, we 
undertook the walk to Hochenschwand, which, 
standing at an elevation of 3000 feet, forms 
one of the highest villages in the Black Forest. 
Here, almost for the first time, we found a 
few cottages built after the typical Black Forest 
style ; but we knew that more perfect specimens 
awaited us, and contented ourselves with the 
truly magnificent view. The Feldberg was now 
in sight ; but, in spite of its superiority in feet 
and inches, it was only to be distinguished from 
its neighbours by the tower at the summit. 
As always in the Black Forest, we seemed to 
stand at the highest point, and to have the 
world at our feet, and the wind blowing in our 
faces had a keenness in it which recalled Alpine 
heights. In truth, Hochenschwand can rarely 
boast of a windless day, and the terrific storms 
for which it is noted makes the existence of the 
village and the hotel rather surprising. Towards 
the south we noticed the long, straight line of 
the Alb Valley, and since it is the only per- 
ceptible interruption in what seems an un- 

92 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

interrupted stretch of forest, we decided that 
it must be worth inspection. For we knew that 
there were valleys and jagged gorges enough 
in that seeming monotony, and consequently 
a valley which stood out from amongst the rest 
must possess both qualities of size and grandeur. 
Accordingly, the next day saw us setting out on 
our rambles, at the same time bidding St. Blasien 
farewell. 

Our luggage had been sent on by the post- 
wagon to Albbruck, but we, determined to 
justify our claim to the title of ramblers, and 
tempted by the promised beauties of the valley, 
followed on foot. On the whole, I feel inclined 
to advise the more restful carriage. The distance 
measures a good fifteen miles, and if, as we were, 
the rambler has bound himself to catch a certain 
train at Albbruck, he may find himself too 
hurried and too tired to enjoy the full magnifi- 
cence of the scenery. Certainly time should be 
allowed for a rest at the interesting village of 
Tiefenstein, which lies about two-thirds of the 
way on the road to Albbruck, and whose inn 
offers a good meal and lovely surroundings. 
From Tiefenstein onwards the valley assumes 
its most unusual and imposing aspect. Up to 
that point, though charming in its way, it 
differed in nothing particular from other Black 
Forest valleys. We passed the villages of 

93 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Kutterau and Immenreich, and then, about half- 
way, at a point where the valley begins to 
narrow and lose its pastoral aspect, the historic 
Nieder Muhle. This now peaceful-looking mill 
was the birthplace of Kanz Uehlin, one of the 
chief peasant leaders in the rising of 1525, whose 
capture and execution at the hands of the 
Austrian troops was the wind which blew the 
smouldering fire of hatred to a blaze. The final 
destruction of the monastery was the revenge of 
the enraged peasants on their oppressors. 

Thus we reached Tiefenstein, tired and hungry, 
but sustained by the knowledge that the most 
beautiful part of our day lay before us. A 
good dinner at the Gasthaus, pleasantly situated 
by the bridge, refreshed us sufficiently to con- 
tinue on our road, which now rose from the bed 
of the foaming Alb to a considerable height, and 
from thence curved round the summit of a 
narrow, rocky gorge. The view down into the 
cleft was wild and romantic enough to suit the 
most spoilt, and every here and there we had to 
pause to listen to the rushing waters below us as 
they roared and churned in white fury against 
the rocky walls of their prison. And during the 
brief stretches which hid the Alb from our view, 
I was regaled on legends and histories of Tiefen- 
stein and its neighbourhood, so that when I 
peered down again into the sunless depths, it 

94 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

seemed to me that I could see elves and goblins 
and the shadow of an emperor hovering in the 
white clouds of spray which rose up towards us. 
For these regions, which now seem so remote 
from all history, have often seen the great Rudolf 
of Habsburg and heard the clash of arms as he 
fought the bitter duel with the proud and noble 
race of the Tief en steins. Their castle, whose 
ruins are still to be seen on a rock rising abruptly 
out of the meadows, saw the first scenes of that 
struggle whose history forms one of the most 
absorbing stories which the Spirit of the Black 
Forest has to tell us. Driven from their 
possessions by the then Count of Habsburg, 
the Tiefensteins barricaded themselves behind 
the walls of a tower in the neighbourhood of 
Kutterau and carried on a desperate robber 
warfare against their enemies of Habsburg and 
St. Blasien. It is said that one of the race 
founded a monastery where the river Ibach joins 
the Alb, but even his cloisters could not protect 
him from the covetous hatred of his family's 
deadly enemy. Rudolf drove the monks from 
their refuge and took their holy relic, the head 
of St. Cyrillus, to Hauenstein. Legend relates 
that in the following morning after this sacri- 
legious robbery the head was once more found 
on the altar of the monastery, and that Rudolf 
on hearing of this miracle was much frightened. 

95 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

The same events were repeated, and this time 
the watchman who was posted to prevent any 
further trouble went mad. It is probable that 
Rudolf let the head have its own way. Never- 
theless his war against the Tiefensteins continued 
until the day when the last of the proud, un- 
fortunate race fell at the hands of one of his 
knights, leaving him complete master of their 
possessions. It was in these regions, too, that 
he seems to have felt the first stirrings of his 
ambition, for on the highlands above the Alb 
there is a mighty fir tree, greater than all her 
sisters, which legend has called the emperor's, 
since it was under her branches that Rudolf 
dreamed dreams of his great future. But his 
was not the only personality who interested the 
neighbourhood in those days. 

There was an Alb king, half-fairy, half-goblin, 
who frequented the waters of a little lake near 
Tiefenstein and sang alluring songs so alluring 
that if a pretty girl ventured to listen to them 
her senses left her and she sank for ever into the 
waters. For aught I know, this Alb king, un- 
like his better known rival of Habsburg, may be 
alive to-day, so that ramblers of the fair sex 
with pretensions to beauty should beware ! 

Thus beguiled with history and legend, care- 
fully sandwiched by rests, during which I was 
made to admire the imposing loveliness of the 



ST. BLASIEN AND ALB VALLEY 

torrent beneath (how wonderful and worthy of 
long scrutiny a landscape becomes when one is 
tired !) we reached the hotel of Hohenfels. 

The view of the foaming Alb from the hotel 
garden is perhaps the finest of all, and it is one 
of the great charms and peculiarities of this 
valley that from this point to the station, 
Albbruck, the road remains almost always 
directly on the edge of the precipice, so that 
the wanderer remains for the greater part of 
the time in full view of the torrent beneath. 
Certainly the beauty of this last half-hour's 
walk must have been of a bewitching character, 
for in spite of the fact that my walking powers 
are limited I reached Albbruck in a very fair 
temper, and was even able to appreciate the 
doubtful humour of the situation when the train 
for which we had been racing steamed out of 
the station at the same moment at which ~ we 
entered it. Nor did I reproach my German 
friend for lingering in exclamatory admiration 
on the road as I might have done. I was 
gracious. I suggested a cup of tea at the 
nearest Gasthaus, and the suggestion finding 
favour, we ended a successful ramble in peace 
and good-fellowship. 



97 



CHAPTER VII 

THE WEHRA VALLEY: TODTMOOS 
AND SURROUNDINGS 

OUR train or rather the train which took the 
place of * ours ' bore us on the same evening 
to Wehr over Sackingen and Bennet. The 
former town has little to offer in the way of 
interest except the castle of Schonau with the 
frescoes depicting scenes out of the Trumpeter 
of Sackingen, Scheffel's most popular, if not 
greatest poem. With Bennet the Wehra Valley 
begins ; but it was already late evening, and 
knowing that at this point the scenery is of a 
negligible quality we continued on our way as 
far as Wehr, a little manufacturing village, or 
town, as it perhaps calls itself, with a very 
pleasant and hospitable Gasthaus situated 
opposite the station. Our next long stopping- 
place being Todtmoos (2496 feet), a village in 
the heart of the mountains, we determined to 
see everything which the neighbourhood had to 
offer before leaving it for higher regions ; and 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

the next morning, accordingly, we set off on 
foot for Hasel and the famous Erdmanshohle 
(Earthman's Cave), the most celebrated of the 
Black Forest subterranean drop-stone caves. 
Apart from this phenomenon, Hasel is in itself 
a charming little village and well worth the 
three-quarters of an hour's walk which brings 
the traveller to its limits. It is typical of most 
lowland villages in the Black Forest. There are 
no straw-covered roofs and oaken beams, burnt 
black with sun and wind, as we were to find 
them later on in our travels, but there is a 
peaceful gaiety in the long, winding street with 
its white-washed cottages and the gay-coloured 
shutters, crude enough in themselves, lend a 
touch of brilliancy to the scene. Nor are the 
people as yet 'typical' as Black Foresters, 
but they are a simple, friendly race, by their 
courteous dignity marked apart from the in- 
habitants of the busier towns. They are just 
' country folk,' and the ' country folk ' of 
South Germany I hope my long-standing 
acquaintance with them does not prejudice me 
unduly are surely the most charming in the 
world. 

At the first inn which meets the traveller 
on the road, we inquired after a guide for 
the Erdmanshohle, and whilst the serving-girl 
rushed off to find the village schoolmaster, 

99 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

who, as usual, undertakes all such jobs, we 
refreshed ourselves with homely bread and 
cheese and a glass of country wine ; thus 
strengthened, we then followed our guide over 
the pastures behind the village to the brow of 
a low hill, where an entrance cut into the rock 
led down into the subterranean passages. But 
first we had to be garbed in a fantastic hooded 
mantle, for, as in a certain poem, there is ' water, 
water everywhere/ and even if you are clever 
enough to avoid falling into the numerous pools 
you are certain not to escape the heavy drops 
which fall from the low roof. Thus attired, and 
looking ourselves not unlike earthmen, we pro- 
ceeded down the steep flight of steps and left 
daylight and the summer warmth behind us. 
The cold is at first penetrating and damp, but 
* on s'habitue a tout/ and after a few moments 
we ceased to notice the change of atmosphere. 
Certainly the Erdmanshohle is worth visiting, 
and even with the memories of Swiss wonders 
of the same type in our minds we were fain to 
confess that this was the most interesting we 
had seen. The long, water-carved galleries, the 
lakes, the chapels supported by gigantic pillars, 
the princes' vault with its carved coffins and 
tombs, the hundred and one quaint shapes and 
figures which seem to watch you as you pass, 
are in their way unique, and it is impossible to 

100 



THE WEHRA VALLEiY 

suppress a sensation of awe when you realise 
that you stand before the work of countless ages. 
The passages are well lighted by electricity, and 
our guide showed an almost proprietary pleasure 
in pointing out to us the various marvels and 
explaining to us the gradual formation of the 
stone pillars. Most impressive of all was the 
dull thunder of the river, at one point visible, 
which flows underground, making, it is believed, 
innumerable curves and twists before bursting 
out half an hour later into the light of day. As 
our guide informed us, the whole country round 
is undermined with these secret waterways. 
There is, for instance, on the ' Dinkelsberg,' a 
small lake the Eichener See whose grey-blue 
waters at times wholly disappear, at other times 
return with a violence and suddenness which is 
even threatening for the neighbouring village. 
No fish can exist in its waters, and no flowers 
or plants grow on its banks : only frogs and 
toads inhabit its mysteries, which are dimly 
supposed to be connected with those of the 
Erdmanshohle. The latter cave measures 360 
metres in length, so far as it is explorable to-day, 
but there are probably miles more of territory 
as yet unknown and probably for ever closed 
against human curiosity, for the expenses of 
the pioneer work are heavy, and the visitors so 
few that it is doubtful if the necessary funds 

101 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

will ever be forthcoming. After half an hour's 
wandering, we returned once more to the 
surface ; the air, which had seemed to us only 
pleasantly warm before our descent, now seemed 
suffocatingly hot, and it was in rather a languid 
frame of mind that we set out on our way back 
to Wehr. Fortunately the road runs downhill 
most of the time, and my German friend's 
camera provided sufficient excuse for the 
sundry necessary rests, so that I at least was 
able to make proper use of the grassy banks 
on the wayside. (In case it be remarked that 
our ' staying powers ' were not of a remarkable 
order, I should like to draw attention to the 
fact that we had performed marvels on the 
previous day, and that anyhow this book 
is not entitled Pedestrian Records \ We 
rambled, and rambling in the genuine sense of 
the word never includes over-exerting oneself.) 
Having given this explanation, I trust the reader 
will be neither surprised nor disgusted when I 
relate that that afternoon saw us entering the 
rocky portals of the Wehra Thai, comfortably 
installed in a carriage which the Kurhaus at 
Todtmoos had sent down for our convenience. 
Well, our luggage had to go up somehow, and 
it seemed a pity not to accompany it ; and if 
some one argues that the luggage might have 
gone up in the luggage cart, I only retort that 

102 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

a tactful person would ignore the fact, and 
let us enjoy our 16 marks' worth of extra- 
vagance with an easy conscience. At any rate, 
we consoled ourselves with the marked absence 
of pedestrians on the road, and our consolation 
increased when, after three hours' steady uphill 
driving, our destination, Todtmoos, appeared 
in sight. During these three hours we had 
ample opportunity to admire the unique qualities 
and beauties of the Wehra Thai. I say unique, 
for there is no other valley in the Black Forest 
which offers the same unbroken loneliness, and 
whose road, cut in places in the very face of the 
rock, has been won with so much skill and 
difficulty. From the moment that we left the 
ruins of the Castle Barenfels behind us to 
the moment when Todtmoos- Au first broke the 
monotony a matter of two hours' driving 
there was no vestige of human habitation on 
either side of the rocky heights which bind in 
the river, and in the valley itself there is no 
room for anything save the magnificently con- 
structed road and the Wehra itself. It is a 
region of absolute loneliness, and yet, shut in 
as it is, it is not oppressive. The immense 
precipices on either side are crowned with the 
richest foliage, the torrent thundering towards 
the plains is of silver clearness, the ferns and 
wild flowers grow in luxuriant profusion along 

103 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the wayside, and the winding road, which at one 
point crosses from the right bank to the left, 
bears the traveller with rapid alternation from 
shadow to sunshine. Save for the absence of 
human life there is no monotony here, and to 
my mind the stretch from Wehr to Todtmoos 
is one of the most perfect specimens of typical 
Black Forest scenery ; there is grandeur without 
oppressiveness, a splendid beauty warmed and 
softened by the green of the firs and beeches 
which grow, as it seems, on the very face of the 
rock, a charm half-pastoral, half-romantic, an 
atmosphere which seems to have sunk from the 
regions of sunshine above to the valley shadows, 
warm and yet full of a vigorous freshness. But 
to begin at the beginning ! Half an hour after 
we had left the village of Wehr behind us we 
reached the entrance to the gorge for from 
this point it is more gorge than valley and 
saw above us the ruins of Barenfels, perched on 
the summit of an inaccessible-looking precipice 
and half hidden by an overgrowth of trees and 
rough, tangled shrubs. The race of Barenfels 
seems to have been a hard-drinking one, and 
not over-popular amongst the down-trodden 
peasantry of their neighbourhood. At any rate, 
Kurt von Barenfels, surnamed the * Liitplager,' 
or ' Peoples' Plague/ was condemned after his 
death to wander round the castle in the form 

104 




THE WEHRA. 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

of a great red hound, followed by savage dogs, 
presumably the spirits of his former victims. 
Beyond the ruins the road winds its way 
along the left bank under the rocky heights of 
the ' Hirschsprung ' (Stag's Leap), a spot from 
which, so the story runs, a hunted stag sprang 
from one side of the valley to the other, and 
then over the so-called Sonnenbriicke (Sun- 
bridge) to the right bank of the Wehra. At 
this point the beauty of the valley reaches its 
highest perfection, and we persuaded our sleepy 
Jehu to pull in his horses for a moment and 
allow us a longer view of the rough, picturesque 
bridge, the tunnelled roadway, the clear waters 
hurrying over their smooth bed of rock out of 
the shadow into the sunshine, and on either 
side the high prison walls with their crown of 
olive green mingled with the lighter, softer 
hues of silver beech. From thence onwards 
the character of the valley begins to change, 
and by the time the traveller reaches Todtmoos- 
Au he has left the wild deserted regions behind 
him and has entered into a broad stretch of 
pastoral land, dotted with sawmills and straw- 
roofed cottages. On the left a magnificent 
modern building drew our attention, and our 
driver informed us that it was the Sanatorium 
Wehrawald, the highest situated hospital for 
consumptives in Germany, and famous for the 

105 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

perfection of its organisation and accommoda- 
tion. Five minutes later Todtmoos itself was 
heralded by a few strolling 'Kur' guests and 
the spire of the village church, and just as dusk 
was beginning to close in about us, and the 
air to become a trifle too keen for our summer 
attire, our carriage drew up with stylish smart- 
ness at the Kurhaus doors. 

Our first impression of Todtmoos was curiously 
unlike the impression which any other Black 
Forest village or ' Bad ' had made upon us. In 
a sense we were again in a ' popular ' resort with 
hotels and a Kurhaus and even a Kur band, but 
the atmosphere and the very people were very 
different. It was as though the fresh mountain 
air had kept the society or would-be society 
folk down in the valley, or, at any rate, had 
blown away something of their society manners 
and customs. 

As we wandered about the chief street that 
evening after supper we were strongly reminded 
of a Swiss mountain village, with its careless 
* va et vien ' of visitors, its little shops, its pictur- 
esque cottages, its brightly lighted inns and 
hotels, from whence come the sounds of music ; 
only here the gaiety is a little less pronounced 
and less overshadowed by the stupendous 
presence of surrounding giants. As we lazily 
wended our way up the road which leads to 

106 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

the sanatorium we were conscious of a peaceful 
melancholy which seemed a very part, the very 
spirit of the village lying in the broad valley 
beneath. We seemed again ' at the top of the 
world,' and there was, in spite of the laughing 
Kur guests and the cheery scrapings of the 
string band, a certain atmosphere of loneliness 
and gravity about us. We felt as though the 
memory of winter with its snow and fierce 
hurricanes still haunted the mountains, the 
forest, and the people, and that we, too, could 
not wholly escape its solemn influence. We 
climbed higher, and gradually left the other 
wanderers behind us. The waltz melodies 
faded into silence and gave place to the 
distant tinkling of cow-bells. Involuntarily I 
thought of similar evenings at Zermatt and 
Chamonix, but though there was no tooth-like 
shadow of a Matterhorn, and no white cloud 
of a Mont Blanc to overawe me, there was 
impressivness enough in the solemn stretch 
of fir-covered forest. We stood upwards of 
half an hour watching the changing aspect 
in the little world at our feet. As night 
deepened, lights sprang up all over the valley, 
marking as though with a beacon the widely 
separated homesteads ; the bell of the church, 
which stood protectingly above the village, 
tolled out the hour, and then, soon afterwards, 

107 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the beacons went out upon the mountain-side, 
and in the broad sweep of the valley only a 
bevy of lights remained to tell that the pleasure- 
seeking guests were still awake ; but Todtmoos, 
the real Todtmoos, with its hard-working in- 
habitants, slept the sleep of the just. 

The next morning, contrary to expectation, 
arrived with sunshine and a clear blue sky, 
so that we were early on foot, and having 
already some experience of Black Forest weather 
we determined to leave the near surroundings 
to a less propitious occasion and start off for 
Herrischried, a village situated in the valley 
of the Murg. The Murg Valley is one of the 
most interesting stretches of country in the 
Black Forest, and though our own rambles did 
not on this occasion lead us farther than 
Herrischried, a prolonged excursion to the 
ruins of Castle Wieladingen over Hollingen 
is strongly recommended to the rambler who 
has time and energy to spare. The walk to 
Herrischried took us two and a half hours, 
but as the road lay through leafy forest and 
gave us at its highest points a fine panorama 
of Todtmoos on the one hand and of the 
distant Alps on the other, the time passed 
with surprising swiftness, and only certain 
hungry cravings warned us that the dinner 
hour was at hand. Herrischried boasts of 

108 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

two inns, at both of which a good, if simple, 
meal (with trout) can be obtained, and whilst 
mine host of the ' Deutscher Kaiser ' was pre- 
paring the latter dainty for us we amused 
ourselves by wandering about the straggling 
village and inspecting the churchyard. Any 
rambler with a sufficient knowledge of the 
German language and a sense of humour is 
strongly advised never to pass a Black Forest 
churchyard without a visit, for the lyrical 
efforts of the village poet are often as delight- 
ful as they are bewildering in thought and 
rhyme. But apart from the churchyard Herris- 
chried has other interests to offer. Here, for 
the first time, we came across the Black Forest 
cottages of the old type, alas ! becoming every 
day more rare, and it was with the greatest 
difficulty that my German friend was dragged 
away from the picturesque thatched dwellings 
which, later on in our rambles, we shall inspect 
more closely. Fortunately trout offered here 
even stronger attractions, so that we were 
presently busy with knife and fork, at the same 
time listening to mine host's account of his 
village and its eventful history. It is always 
with an effort that the traveller realises that 
these quiet, * sleepy little nests ' have a history 
at all, but Herrischried, unlikely though it 
seems, has seen stirring times. Herrischried 

109 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

is what one might call the capital of a whole 
union of villages which once bore the name 
of ' Hauensteiner Einung ' (Hauenstein is the 
general name for the country about the Murg), 
and which possessed a freedom almost amount- 
ing to that of an independent state. But here 
again we find the interfering hand of two 
old acquaintances the Count of Habsburg and 
the Abbot of St. Blasien. The former made 
Herrischried and the whole of the union his 
own, and it followed that in the course of time 
the tract of rugged country became Austrian. 
But the real troubles of the union began with 
the rise of St. Blasien to power, and the 
subsequent ' grabbing ' which formed the earthly 
policy of the monastery's spiritual leaders. 
Against this policy the Hauenstein ers had the 
bad taste to rise en masse during the Peasants' 
War, and from that time onwards there was 
a constant struggle between the two parties. 
At the beginning of the eighteenth century 
the St. Blasien authorities made an attempt 
to regain their power over the district, where- 
upon the so - called Saltpetre War broke out 
under the leadership of one Johann Albiez, a 
saltpetre boiler. The struggle was marked by 
the extraordinary fanaticism shown on both 
sides, and though the conduct of the religious 
party was sufficient to justify most things, the 

no 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

Hauensteiners seem in many cases to have 
managed to go 'one better' in the matter of 
rapine and barbarous cruelty. The war was 
suppressed by Austria, but it broke out twice 
again, the last time in 1815. The Thirty 
Years' War, however, had somewhat damped the 
fighting spirits of the unruly peasants, whose 
homes for the most part had been laid in ruins, 
and the rising was of short duration. It is 
rather curious, seeing that their forefathers 
spent their lives in fighting clerical authority, 
that the Hauensteiners of to-day are a bigoted, 
superstitious race, wholly under the control of 
their priests, themselves often half - educated 
fanatics. For the rest the Hauensteiners, or 
Hozenwalder, as they are also called, on account 
of their short black trousers (Hozen-Hosen), 
are a peculiar and interesting people. There is 
Slavic blood in their veins, and this mingling 
with the original Alemannen element has 
brought about a peculiar and often contra- 
dictory character. The Hozenwalder of to-day 
is powerfully built, of dark complexion, capable 
of extreme brutality, but usually good-natured, 
obstinate, revengeful, and boastful, but delight- 
fully witty when some special festivity has torn 
him out of his usual cautious reserve. He is 
fond of a wild kind of waltz, and dances with 
a passion which recalls his Slavic origin, and 

in 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

his folk-songs are for the most part of a serious, 
melancholy type. 

As everywhere in the Black Forest, the 
Hauenstein region boasts of its own peculiar 
6 Tracht,' or national costume, and the rambler 
who wishes to see the peasant at his best should 
try to visit Herrischried on a Sunday, the one 
and only day when the ' Tracht ' is taken out 
of the family wardrobe. Unfortunately this 
custom of wearing their historic dress (the 
Hauenstein Tracht dates from the fifteenth 
century) is fast dying out. The peasants them- 
selves have no idea of the beauty of their dress, 
and the spread of modern ideas, above all the 
vulgar and impertinent curiosity of tourists, 
who treat the peasants very much as though 
they were so many animals in masquerade, has 
helped to make the Tracht, at any rate in 
Hauenstein, a rare and, on weekdays, an un- 
known sight. Nevertheless the Hauenstein dress 
is one of the most peculiar and interesting of 
the many types which the Black Forest has 
to show. The men, besides their short black 
trousers, wear white stockings and black boots 
which reach half-way up the calf of the leg, 
a long full coat over a red vest, and a big- 
brimmed felt hat, or, if they are young and 
unmarried, small fur caps. The women's attire 
also varies in accordance with their age and 

112 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

position. The more elderly are, as a rule, dressed 
simply in black with full short skirts, a close- 
fitting head-dress, and red stockings. The girls, 
on the contrary, are as gay as peacocks in their 
red jackets, green aprons, blue skirts, coloured 
neck-trimmings, white stockings, and shoes with 
red strings. Their wonderfully long tresses of 
hair are tied in plaits with wide silk ribbons, 
on their heads they wear gold-embroidered caps 
' Plunderkappen ' and around their waists a 
silver belt. Altogether, in spite of the mixture 
of colours, the costume is a handsome and 
expensive one. Perhaps the latter fact explains 
a little the gradual disappearance of the 
'Tracht,' for a really 'full dress' outfit for 
a girl costs as much as a Paris model, as those 
who have tried to obtain one for carnival wear 
have discovered to their distress. 

The day on which we visited Herrischried 
being a weekday, we saw nothing of all these 
wonders, but an old peasant allowed herself to 
be persuaded into showing us the contents of 
her wardrobe, so that we were able to admire 
the beautiful embroidered garments of her youth. 

She appeared very much amused at our 
admiration, and in spite of our indignant protests 
she insisted that the modern attire of the more 
advanced village girls consisting of cheap town 
hats and coats and skirts was much finer. 
H 113 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

By the time we reached Todtmoos again our 
energy allowed us no more than a five minutes' 
pull up the steep hill which leads to the church 
an interesting if ugly place of worship. Its 
foundation can be traced back to the beginning 
of all things as far as Todtmoos is concerned. 
About the middle of the thirteenth century 
a certain priest, Dietrich von Bickenbach, 
having in a dream received orders from the 
Virgin Mary, built a chapel in her honour in 
a region which was called Todtmoos on account 
of the then dangerous condition of the 
ground. The miracles performed on the holy 
spot drew the attention of Eudolf of Habsburg 
and eventually of the Pope himself, who having 
blessed it with numberless ' pardons ' created it 
a place of pilgrimage 'premiere ordre.' And 
a place of pilgrimage it is to-day, as the 
' stations ' which line the road from St. Blasien, 
together with the numberless gifts and votives, 
testify. At the time of our visit a pilgrimage 
had just taken place, and the whole street was 
gaudily decorated with arches of imitation 
flowers and pines. On the two sides of the 
hill on which the church stands, wooden booths 
had been opened for the sale of holy pictures 
and rosaries also other less spiritual things. 
On the whole, the actual inhabitants of Todtmoos 
seemed to take these pilgrimages with an in- 

114 




TOUTMOOS. 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

difference faintly touched with scepticism, but 
there was no doubt as to the devoutness of 
the pilgrims themselves. 

We had not finished our exploration of the 
church before a sudden thunder-storm put an 
end to any further plans for that day, and we 
were compelled to retire to the comfortable 
Kurhaus reading-rooms, there to beguile our- 
selves with belated English newspapers and 
listen to the artillery firing that was going on 
about our heads. A thunder-storm in the 
valley is child's play compared to the upheaval 
of the elements which the Black Forest moun- 
tains witness so often. One feels as though 
one were at the very heart of the commotion, 
and to witness the storm from a mountain-top 
is a wonderful and terrific experience, not wholly 
unmixed with danger, as the seared and broken 
pine trees bear testimony. Unfortunately a 
storm must be paid for with an almost certain 
if only temporary break in the weather, so that 
we were not surprised the next morning to 
find the sky already dotted with those ' cotton- 
wool' clouds whose presence bodes ill for the 
day. Consequently we refrained from wander- 
ing far afield and contented ourselves with 
Todtmoos' direct surroundings. Naturally we 
discovered a waterfall two waterfalls even, 
the one situated in a charming little ravine 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

about ten minutes' walk from the hotel world. 
The Kabenschlucht (Raven's Gorge), as it is 
called, is one of the most delightful miniature 
gorges that I have met in the Black Forest. 
All that is awe-inspiring and terrific in the 
rocky valleys we have already seen is here 
translated into a child's plaything ; minute 
boulders, tremendous ' falls ' of two feet high, 
and breakneck paths and bridges across the 
breadth of the foaming torrent delight the 
wanderer's eye, and though I am afraid we 
allowed ourselves a disrespectful laugh at the 
waterfall's most tremendous ' effect ' a cascade 
over a high boulder we lengthened the ten 
minutes' necessary for the whole walk into half 
an hour, lingering by the prettiest points and 
attempting to take photographs which, I regret 
to say, came out looking like pictures of a damp 
sheet hung out to dry. From thence our way 
took us along to the waterfall, this time a 
genuine concern which evidently felt itself 
vastly superior to any toy-gorge, and was, 
perhaps on that account, not quite so successful. 
Still, it looked pleasantly cool and sparkling 
as it came tumbling down from the rocks 
above into the silvery brook, and the walk 
at the top which leads back to Todtmoos, 
past interesting peasants' farms, or ' Hofe,' as 
they are called, is well worth the trouble and 

116 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

does not tax the powers of even the weariest 
rambler. 

As we strolled back to the hotel, a noticeable 
change in the atmosphere and a clearing of the 
sky told us that the south-west wind had 
shifted to the north, so that we had the right 
to count on fine weather. Thus that afternoon, 
our 'wander-lust' still being strong on us, we 
set off for a purposeless ramble along the 
beautiful paths which lead upwards into the 
forest. Without any particular reason we obeyed 
the behests of the signposts pointing to St. 
Antoni, and to them we owe one of our pleasant- 
est walks. Not that St. Antoni, a little chapel 
on the hillside, offered any particular attraction, 
but the afternoon light, deepening gradually to 
evening, seemed to transform the whole forest 
into fairyland. In no other country of my 
travels have I witnessed such wonderful changes 
in colouring as in the Black Forest towards 
sunset ; each moment brings a deeper tint, a 
new colour, and far back between the silver and 
purple stems there is a glimmer of fiery sunshine 
which recalls the glow in Siegfried. As 
evening advances the light seems to become 
almost threatening, the trunks of the firs and 
beeches, which rise like pillars towards the sky, 
turn from the softest rose to purple, the very 
green of the trees, the fresh, vivid green of 

117 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

spring is brilliant, fiery as though from 
inward illumination. Here and there a rivulet, 
creeping its way through the ferns and mosses, 
catches a last ray of the sun before it tumbles 
in ghostly grey cascades towards the valley, 
and save for its mysterious bubbling song there 
is an unbroken silence. And so night comes 
on, the distant glow turns from red to mauve, 
and then dies into complete darkness ; the voice 
of the unseen water seems to grow louder, and 
among the trees some night-bird, startled by 
the belated rambler, flutters up out of reach 
of danger. The perfume of the pine and newly 
cut wood, lying piled up along the roadside, 
is borne on the calm air which the departed 
sun has warmed and softened, and the traveller, 
as he breaks out once more into the open 
country, feels that he has been in an enchanted 
world. It is, above all, a German world, as my 
German friend carefully explained to me on our 
way homewards from St. Antoni, and I felt that 
she was right, though I did not admit it. 
Whether one wishes them to or not, all the 
heroes of Germanic mythology rise up before 
one's eyes on such an evening as I have at- 
tempted to describe. The Black Forest, one is 
sure, must have been Siegfried's home, must 
have seen Wotan's earthly wanderings, and 
burnt in the glow of Loge's fiery embrace. It 

118 




COTTAGES NEAR TODTMOOS. 



THE WEHRA VALLEY 

is a region full of the German spirit of romance 
and legend, and it is for that reason, perhaps, 
that the Black Forest is best known and 
certainly best loved by the Germans themselves. 
But to return to more substantial matters ! 
Our rambles on the following day took us far 
afield, namely, to Schweigmatt over the village 
of Gersbach. Once again I have to confess that 
the journey was not performed on foot, for the 
very sufficient reason, already once given, that 
our luggage had to be conveyed per carriage, 
and that there was no object in our riot taking 
the same advantage. Thus, as there was no 
particular need for an early start, we made our 
farewell to Todtmoos from the summit of the 
Hochkopf (3600 feet), whence, too, we obtained 
a fine view over to the Alps. The walk was 
mostly over open ground, so that we were glad 
that the sun had not as yet made up his 
mind to put in an appearance. On the way 
we passed a tiny little white-washed chapel, 
whose bell an old peasant woman was busily 
tolling. She informed us that she acted as bell- 
man twice a day, once at eleven and once in the 
evening, and generally, as it appeared, took the 
place of the priest himself. Down in the valley 
we had noticed that some of the more important- 
looking peasants' homes were built with a small 
belfry, and she told us that at the evening hour 

119 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the bell rang to call together all the members of 
the household for evening prayer, read by the 
chief Bauer (peasant) himself. As only old and 
wealthy families follow this custom, it is safe to 
look upon these belfries as a sign of wealth and 
' blood.' Bidding our kindly informant fare- 
well we returned to our hotel, there to find 
our carriage waiting and our boxes strapped in 
their places, and ten minutes later we looked 
back for a last time at Todtmoos before the 
forest hid it from our sight. 



120 



CHAPTER VIII 

SCHWEIGMATT, THROUGH THE WIESE 
VALLEY, TO BADENWEILER 

WE had chosen Schweigmatt (2550 feet) for our 
next stopping-place, for two reasons : the first 
reason was of a sentimental character and con- 
cerned a previous visit, made some years before, 
when I had caught a first glimpse of the Black 
Forest ; the second, more practical, was that 
Schweigmatt formed a good starting-point for 
our wanderings up the valley of the Wiese. 
Our road lay through shady avenues as far as 
the village of Gersbach, where we stopped for 
half an hour to reconnoitre and excite the 
natives with our camera. I suppose there are 
few villages in the Black Forest so entirely 
unspoilt, so entirely the home of the natives 
themselves as this little straggling Gersbach. 
There is no hotel worthy of the name, only 
two inns, which appear to exist solely for the 
use of the villagers, and save for a few artists 
the place knows few visitors. Yet the rambler 

121 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

who wishes to see something of the human 
element in the Black Forest could not do 
better than spend an hour or two in the rough, 
uneven street which leads downhill between two 
rows of picturesque, and consequently tumble- 
down, cottages. As far as we could judge there 
were no t Grossbauer ' (rich peasants) amongst 
the inhabitants : the cottages, although typical, 
were not of the type which we shall meet 
later on, where the picturesqueness is obtained 
unconsciously, it is true by a graceful struc- 
ture and a lavish display of oak blackened by 
the rain and sunshine of many scores of years. 
These peasants' houses might often arouse the 
envy of a rich man on the search for a summer 
residence, but here in Gersbach the interest is 
the interest of decay and ruin. True, the decay 
and ruin is probably more apparent than real, 
and the traveller, in judging the wealth or 
poverty of a village in South Germany, must 
always bear in mind that the German peasant is 
absolutely indifferent to physical comfort and 
appearances generally. As long as he has a roof 
over his head and enough to eat, no matter 
what, his needs are satisfied. Thus in Gersbach 
the roofs are kept well thatched, but the doors 
fall from their hinges, the steps which lead up to 
the wooden balcony under the eaves are rotten, 
the windows roughly patched and uncurtained. 

122 



SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWE1LER 

Pigs and feathered folk of all kinds wander 
about the streets and mingle in amicable 
companionship with the bare-headed, bare- 
footed children, and every here and there 
some toothless old dame, clad in the poorest 
garb, peers out into the sunlit, sleepy street. 
There is dust, disorder, and poverty everywhere 
at first sight and though it undoubtedly 
offers irresistible attractions to the artistic eye, 
the English traveller, with the memory of spruce, 
built-by-the-dozen English cottages and elegantly 
clad English country maidens, will shake his head 
in pity for the ' miserable German peasant.' 
Unless he is unusually clear-sighted he will not 
see that the dust lies only where it can do no 
harm, that the disorder is almost calculated and 
never ventures into the homes themselves, that 
the apparent poverty is in reality merely the 
expression of an extreme frugality, and that 
the chances are that the toothless, withered old 
lady whose fate has aroused his contemptuous 
sympathy is probably far better off than many 
a well-to-do English yeoman's wife. Later 
on, when we left the village behind us and 
drove over the open stretch of country which 
leads to Schweigmatt, we had a further insight 
into the real conditions of the people. All 
along the road we met ox-wagons heavily 
laden with the first hay (the Black Forest 

123 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

peasant goes haymaking four times a year), and 
the sturdy teams, the sunburnt, handsome faces 
of the well-set-up figures of their drivers, the 
rosy-cheeked women, with their white kerchiefs 
tied over their hair, who smiled and nodded to 
us from the fields, did not suggest either misery 
or poverty. Undoubtedly the life they lead is a 
hard, strenuous one, and the women, who take 
their share with the men, age quickly, but the 
roughness of their lives and the comfortlessness 
of their homes is of their own choosing. They 
have not yet been educated to demand or expect 
luxury; they are primitive in their ways and 
tastes, and, for their country's sake, long may 
they remain so ! 

Half an hour's drive brought us once more 
into the forest. We were now in a region 
almost untrodden by the rambler's foot, and 
rarely used as a carriage-way, if one might 
judge by the narrow, grass-grown road, and 
we congratulated ourselves warmly on a cross- 
country route which took us so successfully 
from the vulgar throng. Save for the peasants, 
we had not met a single other traveller on the 
road, and the fact gave us, I fear, an unchristian- 
like satisfaction. Truth to tell, Schweigmatt is 
itself an out-of-the-way place, little known to 
the ordinary tourist, and a treasured secret of 
the German in search of absolute peace and 

124 



SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWEILER 

quiet. The Kurhaus, the only hotel and the 
only building for miles around, save for one or 
two peasants' cottages, is beautifully situated a 
few hundred feet below the tower of the Hohen 
Mohr, on the very borders of the forest, but 
with a magnificent uninterrupted panorama 
southwards over the Rhine to the Alps. The 
air is extraordinarily pure and bracing, even 
for the Black Forest, and the surrounding 
country beautiful enough to account for the 
crowded table d'hote which greeted us on our 
arrival. The custom of forcing their guests to 
sit together at one long table is the one thing 
which annoys me in the conduct of the other- 
wise unimpeachable Black Forest hdteliers. Of 
course as their servants are few, and for the 
most part not very highly trained peasant 
girls, the business of serving is no doubt 
simplified by this method, and I know that 
the Germans themselves, being a more sociable 
people, prefer it, but I confess that my English 
soul invariably pants for the quiet and solitude 
of a separate table. I should add that a separate 
table can usually be obtained for an extra 
charge. And the extra charge is just the rub, 
for though the original ' pension ' may be low 
enough there are always enough extras to make 
the bill rise considerably, especially, as in our 
case, where a simple night's stay does not 

125 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

entitle the visitor to ' pension' terms. Thus 
we condescended to take our places with the 
rest, and Providence as a reward sent us a 
' Bauerin ' in full * Tracht ' as a neighbour, 
and her conversation I think it was the first 
time she had ever been in a hotel recompensed 
us entirely for other disadvantages. 

Towards evening we wandered up the easy 
path which leads to the Hohen Mohr, and on 
the way a stray butterfly of fine dimensions 
reminded me of my first experiences in the art 
of butterfly collecting. Schweigmatt's protected 
position, the wide stretches of sunlit meadow 
which lie at the edge of the forest and cover 
the hillside seem to favour the development of 
the finest specimens, and I advise the collector 
but I prefer not to advise him. I should not 
like to do my friend of the pale blue wings 
such a bad turn. From the top of the tower 
of Hohen Mohr we were able to obtain a full 
view over the Alps before evening, and when 
night came on and the full moon rose over the 
Rhine Valley, it seemed to us that from where 
we sat on the Kurhaus terrace we could still 
see the ghostly outline of the snow-capped 
mountains. The following morning we gave 
our luggage into the hands of the host, with 
the request that it should be registered to 
Todtnau, whilst we ourselves took the footpath 

126 



SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWE1LER 

down to the station Hausen -Rait bach in the 
valley of the Wiese. A little less than an 
hour's downhill walking brought us to our 
destination, and having time to spare we 
wandered over to Hausen, famous as the birth- 
place of Johann Peter Hebel, the greatest poet 
of the Black Forest. A tumble- down cottage 
next the inn ' zum Adler ' bears the inscription 
' Rebel's Heimat,' and it is curious to compare 
this humble, poverty-stricken beginning with the 
proud monument in the churchyard which tells 
the passer-by that ' Johann Peter Hebel, Baden's 
first prelate and sweet singer,' has found his 
rest in the quiet of his native village. 

During our idle wanderings through Hausen's 
sleepy streets we were fortunate enough to meet 
a bevy of red-cheeked Black Forest maidens, 
decked in their best ' Tracht ' and evidently 
bound on a day's excursion to some neighbouring 
town. Their costume reminded us that we had 
left the Hauensteiners far behind us, and that 
we were in the Markgraflerland the land of 
wine, pretty girls, and quaint dress. Hausen is 
a Protestant village, consequently the ' Tracht ' 
is also Protestant. In contrast to their Catholic 
sisters, who wear red, the Protestant women 
wear white kerchiefs over their heads whilst 
working in the fields, and on ' best days ' they 
are distinguished by a wondrous and, to my 

127 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

mind, charming head-dress of broad, black silk 
ribbons, tied so as to form two big wings. The 
rest of the dress is very simple a black dress 
with a shawl of black or white lace, crossed 
gracefully across the breast, being the usual garb 
and its very simplicity, in comparison with the 
gorgeousness of some of the costumes, adds to 
its charm. Altogether the Markgrafler folk are 
remarkable for their honesty, simplicity, and 
straightforwardness, and these characteristics 
seem to find an expression in their dress and 
whole appearance. 

From Hausen to the most important station 
on the Wiesen Thai line, Zell, the scenery offered 
us was of no particular beauty, but from Zell 
onwards the valley closed in and the mountains 
on either side rose up in a majesty which 
reminded us that we were nearing the great 
Feldberg and that these were his forerunners. 
North of the comparatively modern town Zell, 
the birthplace, by the way, of Weber's parents, 
we saw the rounded heights of the * Zeller 
Blauen,' and every here and there a stream 
hurrying down from the mountains revealed to 
us the presence of the small but charming valleys 
which branch off' to the right and left from the 
Wiese. Thus alternately narrowing and widening 
out again into peaceful meadow-land, but always 
accompanied by the range of mountains on 

128 



SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWEILER 

either side, the Wiese brought us to Schonau, 
the chief town of the valley. Here, with the 
help of our time-table, we had arranged for a 
two hours' halt for lunch and a general survey 
of the friendly overgrown village. In spite 
of the fact that Schonau is chief town from the 
official point of view, it has remained an old- 
world place, and the green pastures which sur- 
round it justify fully the name it bears. For 
the ending ' Au,' which we shall often meet 
in this region, signifies ' meadow,' and the 
adjective ' Schon ' seems to have been chosen 
to emphasise the superiority of the town over 
its neighbours, ' Schlechtau ' and ' Todtnau.' 
Be it as it may, we were well pleased to endorse 
the self-laudatory adjective, and our two hours' 
stay was marked by an excellent, much-needed 
meal at the ' Gasthaus zum Ochsen ' and a 
pleasant walk to ' Schonenbuchen/ a hamlet with 
a chapel dedicated to St. Peter and famous in 
the neighbourhood as a place of pilgrimage. A 
decidedly curious picture represents the * great ' 
battle of Schonenbuchen, though when and 
against whom the battle was fought no one 
seems to know. All that is certain is, that at 
the critical moment when the inhabitants of 
Schonenbuchen were obviously getting the worst 
of the encounter, an army of angels dressed 
appropriately in Black Forest ' Tracht ' came 
I 129 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

to the rescue by throwing sharp-pointed iron 
nails amongst the horses of the enemy, where- 
upon the latter, enraged by this proceeding, 
began to fight among themselves, the conflict 
ending so disastrously that the meadows ran 
with their blood down to the very banks of 
the Rhine. From this account it will be clear 
to the dullest and least appreciative rambler 
that Schonenbuchen and its inhabitants are 
certainly Heaven blessed. Altogether Schonau 
and the surrounding neighbourhood have seen 
hard struggles, for it was here that the Reforma- 
tion began its passage through the Black Forest, 
and St. Blasien, who, as usual, had taken posses- 
sion of the place, lost no time in crushing out 
the new teaching with a violence and cruelty 
which would have been the envy of the Spanish 
Inquisition. Nevertheless, in spite of all efforts 
on the part of the clerical party, the greater 
part of the Wiesen Valley became Protestant 
and has remained Protestant to this day. 

Once more the train carried us northwards 
to the head of the valley and our destination 
Todtnau, and having retrieved our luggage we 
deposited ourselves at the friendly ' Gasthaus 
zum Ochsen ' for the night. We were now in 
the very heart of the Black Forest mountains ; 
like a toy-town that has somehow or other 
fallen into the hands of giants, Todtnau lies at 

130 



SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWEILER 

the foot of the great, for the most part barren, 
monsters which tower up crushingly on either 
hand. Most magnificent of all is the view 
from the north-east side of the town, at the 
entrance of the Brandenburg Valley, which later 
offers itself as a route up to the Feldberg itself. 
But we had already made up our minds on the 
subject of the Feldberg. The sight of these 
new lands to conquer had aroused our ambition 
and enthusiasm to the highest pitch, and we 
did what we had never done before we bought 
a knapsack ; we crammed it to bursting-point 
with all the articles which civilisation has dubbed 
' pure necessities/ entrusted our remaining 
belongings to our host, and turning our faces 
courageously northwards proceeded to attack the 
giant of the Black Forest via Todtnauberg and 
the inevitable waterfall. Now, a knapsack is a 
curious and treacherous thing. The first sight 
of its round, compact exterior fills you with a 
certain satisfaction ; you marvel at the quantities 
which you have managed to crush into its limits 
and at the extraordinary lightness of the whole 
concern. Then you strap it on your back and 
march triumphantly through the town with 
your head high, with the knowledge that you 
are on adventure bent, that you are really 
* roughing it,' that you are altogether a superior 
individual to that ' bloated aristocrat ' lolling 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

in her carriage and pair on the way from Boll 
to St. Blasien. Your step is still jaunty as 
you attack the first rise, but after ten minutes 
your cheery conversation flags ; you begin to 
display a peculiar interest in the view, you 
fidget with the straps, which are beginning to 
cut unpleasantly into your shoulders, and dark 
suspicions that at the last moment your com- 
panion may have surreptitiously added to your 
burden begin to flit across your mind. After 
that your temper loses itself with a rapidity 
and completeness dependent on your own 
particular temperament and powers of self- 
control. 

I was thankful when, after an hour and a 
halfs groaning under my self-imposed burden, 
the hotel of Todtnauberg came in sight and 
set me free. Whilst awaiting our dinner if 
I seem to mention meals more often than may 
appear necessary to a spiritually minded rambler, 
it is because they form such an agreeable break, 
and because one becomes painfully material 
in the strong, pure air we inspected the water- 
fall, which, thanks to the recent rains, was in 
its most flourishing condition. The idea of 
describing waterfalls becomes odious in the 
Black Forest, where one meets the same type 
at almost every stopping- place, but I cannot 
pass this particular specimen without a word of 

132 



SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWEILER 

recommendation. About three hundred feet in 
height the full torrent breaks over half a dozen 
smaller falls and finally throws itself en masse 
down a perpendicular precipice of rock. The 
finest view can be obtained from the bridge 
about a quarter of an hour from Todtnauberg, 
and thither therefore we repaired to fight the 
temptation to take obviously impossible photo- 
graphs. With the afternoon came the hardest 
but also the most richly rewarded endeavours. 
Our way from the Todtnauberg brought us at 
first a fine view over the Alps, and later on 
a shady road through forest, until at last we 
gained the chief ' Hohenweg.' (The Hohenwege 
in the Black Forest are the well-kept roads 
which keep to the heights. It is possible to 
go from Basel to Karlsruhe entirely on these 
roads, which bear different numbers and are 
usually marked red on the maps.) At about 
the same moment as I had come to the decision 
that knapsacks were an invention of the powers 
of darkness for the discomfort and torture of 
an unsuspicious mankind, the Feldberger Thurm 
came in sight, and in spite of the fact that 
we were now on open ground and at the mercy 
of the sunshine, our courage revived and we 
struggled on heroically. On the whole we had 
all reason to be grateful for the sunshine, which, 
as every traveller of the Feldberg knows, can 

133 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

be only too easily replaced by terrific storms, 
or, what is worse, a dense, misleading mist. 
Whatever bad weather may happen to be lurk- 
ing in the neighbourhood breaks over the 
Feldberg, and even those who know its paths 
well hesitate to move during one of the mists, 
knowing that he will either waste his time 
wandering in a circle or lose himself hopelessly 
in the marshy ground from whence the rivers 
of the Wiese and the Gutach take their source. 
This 'Feldberg Geist' (Spirit) has always been 
a much-feared guest, and the monks of St. 
Blasien, once more on the look out for something 
fresh to lay hold of, determined to exorcise the 
evil spirit and confine it to the limits of a holy 
battle. They therefore lit a fire by which they 
hoped to discover him, but unfortunately or 
fortunately he proved one too much for the 
hitherto unsubdued priests ; appearing to them 
as a terrific storm spirit, he blew out their 
light, and, leaving them in pitch darkness, drove 
them helter-skelter down the mountain-side 
amidst hailstones and other unpleasantness. 
So the Feldberg Geist remained unconquered, 
and in spite of his interesting and mysterious 
' past ' we were grateful not to make his ac- 
quaintance. We were fortunate, too, in the 
view, which is rarely clear in summer, and from 
where we stood at the foot of the ' Luisen 

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SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWE1LER 

Tower/ as it is called, we could see not only 
over the full length of the Feldberg and the 
neighbouring mountains, but far beyond, north- 
wards over the Black Forest to the Hornis- 
grinde, westwards to the Vosges, and southwards 
the long chain of Alps to Mont Blanc itself. But 
all this splendour is a rarity, and the rambler 
who wishes to make its acquaintance must come 
in winter, when sport and magnificent scenery 
should amply recompense him for the time he 
will probably have to wait before the whole 
panorama reveals itself to him. As to the 
Feldberg itself, it represents a long, narrow 
plateau, running from east to west and marked 
by three distinct points. Our point of arrival, 
the so-called ' Hochste,' measures 4485 feet and 
boasts not only a tower but also a Gasthaus 
(zum Feldberg Thurm), to which latter place we 
at once repaired in order to rid myself of my 
Old-Man- of-the-Sea. Thus relieved I consented 
to explore the regions as far as the Seebuch, 
whose Bismarck Monument marks the most 
easterly point (4350 feet). On all sides the 
descent from the Feldberg plateau into the 
valleys is extremely steep, but here we looked 
down into what seemed a yawning abyss. 
Evening was already creeping up the mountain- 
sides, and it was only as a dim yet indescribably 
threatening shadow that we could see the Feldsee 

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RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

(lake) lying immediately (900 feet) below us. It 
was a curious, almost awe-inspiring, change to 
turn from the west, with its brilliant red glory, 
to the sombre chasm which at no time, not even 
in days of brightest sunshine, loses its character 
of melancholy and mystery. Surrounded two- 
thirds by rock and precipice and for the rest 
by ragged, storm-beaten pines the lake offers 
the wanderer a vision of wild, romantic scenery 
which has no rival in the Black Forest, and 
which seems, indeed, to belong to another world, 
a world of phantoms and untamable demons. 
In hours of storm the ghostly huntsman of the 
Feldberg rides on the back of the howling 
tempest over the lake, with a horde of skeleton 
followers at his heels, and the black waters light 
up for an instant with the flash of unearthly 
fire. And in other hours, when a sullen calm 
rests over the loneliness, the stems of fallen 
pine trees rise up out of the depths. The 
ground is covered with the wreckage of the 
storms, and ghostly shadows flit silently over 
the black waters. Even at evening, when only 
a dim outline was discernible, the fascination of 
the place was so strong over us that we lingered 
longer than was wise, and with the lights of 
our Gasthaus as guides we had to make our way 
back as best we could through the treacherous 
dusk. The reader will admit after this account 

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SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWEILER 

that our rambles on that day were of a very 
genuine character, and will sympathise when I 
relate that we followed Mark Twain's example 
and missed the sunrise the next morning. 
Only, unlike him, we did it consciously and on 
purpose, which is, I suppose, scarcely a miti- 
gating circumstance. Still, with the knowledge 
that we had a good walk before us, and that 
the knapsack was on no account to be forgotten, 
we felt justified in a late breakfast, which was 
early enough, however, to allow us the full 
enjoyment of the wonderful fresh morning air 
and a view over the Black Forest to a horizon 
still pink from the last glow of what must 
have been I speak under the influence of a 
pure supposition a magnificent sunrise. 

Leaving the third point of the Feldberg 
the Baldenwegerbuck to the north, we pro- 
ceeded on our way downwards to the Feld- 
bergerhof, a large and comfortable hotel, about 
an hour's walk from our own quarters of the 
previous night. As we walked, the full 
significance of the name * Feldberg ' (Field 
Mountain) was brought home to us. The 
numerous little huts, inhabited during the 
summer only, the stray cattle which crossed our 
path, the unshaded stretch of grassy land which 
reaches half - way down the mountain - side, 
reminded us of a Swiss pasture, and we were 

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RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

not sorry to regain the shade of the forest. 
Save for the intrepid mountain ash, which here 
and there has managed to obtain a foothold on 
the precipitous south side, and a short, stubbly 
grass, the Feldberg is without vegetation, and 
after rain the ground becomes a swamp, from 
whence the Wiese and our old friend the 
Gutach-Wutach take their source. 

It is hardly necessary to mention that the 
Feldberg once belonged to the monastery of 
St. Blasien ; to-day the Feldbergerhof and the 
woods on the east side are the property of the 
Flirst of Fiirstenberg, who has his chief residence 
at Donaueschingen. 

For our return journey we had determined to 
take the Wiese itself as our guide, and having 
tracked the river to its source, a quarter of an 
hour's walk from the hotel ' Feldberg,' we paused 
to take breath our descents are as violent as 
our ascents are ' gemiitlich ' and admire the 
grand, rocky surroundings with which the Wiese 
has chosen to frame the place of its birth. From 
thenceward, following the orders of the faithful 
signpost, we entered into the beautiful Hebelweg 
which leads through the gorge into the Brander- 
berger Valley. Countless little waterfalls came 
scampering down from the heights to join the 
river, and incidentally, I suppose, to amuse the 
wanderer, who must cross the Wiese no less 

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SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWE1LER 

than eleven times by means of rustic bridges 
before he reaches the high-road again. Personally, 
I found waterfalls and bridges alike a constant 
source of interest, and I suspect my companion 
of taking a childish pleasure in standing on the 
middle of the latter and throwing branches of 
fallen trees into the hurrying water in order to 
race them to the next point. Altogether I have 
noticed, for some unknown reason, running water 
makes children of us all, and it is wonderful how 
much more pleasantly the time slips past when 
one has a brook or a river for a companion on 
one's rambles. Hence the hour and a half which 
we needed to reach the Fahl seemed but half 
that time, and we faced the next hour and a half 
on the high-road through the fine Branderberger 
Valley with all good courage, and reached our 
headquarters at Todtnau with the feeling that 
our adventurous ramble with the knapsack if 
sometimes painful had at least given us a 
splendid glimpse of the Feldberg and of the 
great group of mountains which acknowledge 
it lord. At any rate, we were now in full 
training, and in spite of our recent exertions 
we occupied the rest of the day by strolling 
along the wooded paths which lead upwards 
from the valley, notably to the Hebelshohe, a 
delightful spot from which the wanderer can 
obtain a fine view over Todtnau. 

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RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

This ended our stay in the region of the 
Wiese Valley. Having obtained the advice and 
assistance of our host, and made considerable 
use of his telephone, we proceeded the next 
morning with the train back to Schonau, where, 
according to our arrangements, a carriage and 
pair waited to take us across country to Baden- 
weiler. As the reader will perceive, therefore, 
our rambles, from the pedestrian point of view, 
were temporarily at an end ; and I confess that 
the change from the weary, knapsack-burdened 
wanderer of the day before, to the lady of ease 
and luxury reclining in her hired victoria, was 
a wholly agreeable one. Moreover, it was a 
cheap drive a positive economy for, had we 
gone by rail our way would have taken us over 
a long, expensive, zigzag route, and walking was 
obviously impossible. After all, there comes a 
moment when the most patient worm turns, 
and though I had borne a knapsack without 
complaint (at least without much complaint), 
I should have turned most decidedly at 
the thought of the contents of our good- 
sized portmanteau. All this is said in case the 
reader should suspect us of laziness or wanton 
extravagance. 

Our road led for the first part through fairly 
open country, mounting steadily as we approached 
the region of the Belchen (3245 feet) and the 

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SCHWEIGMATT TO BADENWEILER 

Kolhgarten. The former mountain, which we 
admired from a distance only, is the third 
highest in the Black Forest, and its abrupt rise 
and isolated position make it by far the most 
imposing. The Feldberg's plateau-like summit 
detracts from its height ; the pointed peak of the 
Belchen lends it apparently the 240 feet which 
it in reality requires to make it the Feldberg's 
equal. The view from the summit is, if anything, 
more picturesque and extensive ; but we had had 
enough of views and mountain-climbing for the 
time being, and having enjoyed trout at the 
pleasant little inn of Neuenweg, we continued 
on our way upward over the rounded hills and 
past wide stretches of rich pasture-land. Then, 
as always in the Black Forest, no sooner had 
our sturdy horses dragged us and our luggage 
to the highest point than our way led down 
once more in sweeping curves through a forest 
of pine and fir. Another half-hour and the first 
villas of Badenweiler came into view, abruptly 
reminding us that we had left the primitive 
regions of the Black Forest behind us, and had 
returned to a world of ancient and modern 
culture. 



141 



CHAPTER IX 
BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

1 WHEN in Rome do as the Romans do ' is a good 
motto to take with one when travelling, and 
since of our own free will we had chosen to 
turn our back on simplicity in order to see 
something of the most luxurious Black Forest 
life, we determined to do the thing in the style 
proper to Badenweiler, and, scorning the offers 
of smaller hotels, deposited ourselves and our 
belongings at the famous Romer Bad. And my 
advice to the traveller following our route is 
go and do likewise, for it can be truly said of 
most Black Forest hotels that the most expensive 
is usually the cheapest. At any rate, the 
difference in price between one hotel and another 
is ridiculously small in comparison with the re- 
finements and luxuries which are offered for the 
little extra expense. The truth of the matter 
is that the smaller hotels are not really rougher 
on account of the lower terms ; their cuisine, 
serving, and accommodation are arranged to suit 

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BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

the style of a certain class of people people for 
the most part who look upon delicate food and 
dressing for dinner with an un appreciative eye. 
Bien entendu I speak only of such places as 
Baden weiler, where the hotels are all more or 
less pretentious. In little village places no one 
need fear accepting the low terms offered that 
is to say, if they can be content with simple 
fare but in towns it is always wiser to add one 
or two marks to the daily expense, and avoid the 
' cheap ' boarding-houses and family hotels, which 
in reality are only cheap in an unpleasant 
sense of the word. Moreover, in this particular 
instance the Hotel Eomer Bad is an essential 
part of Badenweiler. It is like the Insel Hotel 
in Constance not to have stayed in it is to 
have missed a chief feature of the place ; and 
for the rambler who has been existing on the 
contents of a knapsack it is a rare delight to 
unpack in an elegant bedroom, adorn himself in 
his best clothes, and dine amidst the glitter and 
splendour of a really fashionable world. For 
Badenweiler is not a St. Blasien ; its fine folk 
are really fine folk at any rate, as far as wealth 
is concerned and the German bourgeois element 
trying to be smart and up-to-date, and failing, 
utterly sinks into the background. I confess 
that that evening, as we entered the beautiful 
dining-room, I felt for the first time ashamed of 

143 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

sunburnt hands and face ; I had hitherto been 
rather proud of them, but our elegant neighbours, 
who obviously never ventured out without the 
protection of a parasol, made me feel a very 
uncouth person a sort of country cousin who 
has wandered into superior regions by mistake. 
Still, the first evening in the Black Forest's 
second great watering-place was both pleasant 
and refreshing, and prepared us for our tour of 
inspection on the following day. 

I have spoken of Badenweiler as the second 
great watering-place not on account of the 
inferiority of its natural charms, but because 
as a fashionable residence, as a social resort, it 
stands no comparison with Baden-Baden in the 
eyes of the society world. Everything, though 
elegant, is on a smaller, quieter scale ; the 
numberless private villas which lie on the 
outskirts of the town denote the existence of 
a wealthy class, who come to enjoy a peaceful 
home -life, and the whole ' Kur ' life bears the 
same somewhat subdued stamp. At no time 
does Badenweiler produce the same, not 
altogether admirable, class of visitors which 
assemble in Baden-Baden in the great race 
week, and the forms of entertainment offered 
are scarcely exciting. In a word, the world 
which favours Badenweiler is a fashionable 
world, but a world in search of health, of quiet 

144 



BADEN WEILER AND FREIBURG 

with beautiful surroundings and a certain out- 
spoken elegance and refinement. The verb 
s'amuser is not the only verb in Badenweiler, 
and this fact marks the great difference between 
it and its sister, Baden-Baden. 

As for Badenweiler itself, apart from its 
hotels and its visitors, it is rather difficult to 
discover where it is and of what it consists. 
When the exodus sets in, nothing remains but 
a handful of natives and a few melancholy shops 
but the wonderful climate of the place is indu- 
cing winter guests to put in an appearance, so 
that it is likely that in time to come Baden- 
weiler will be as popular in winter as in summer 
Protected by the high walls of the Blauen 
sometimes called Hochblauen to distinguish it 
from the Zellblauen Badenweiler (1266 feet) 
feels little of the rough winds that blow over 
other parts of the Black Forest, and her elevated 
position saves her from the damp mists which 
hang over the Rhine Valley beneath her. Thus 
invalids and travellers, returning from southern 
countries, are thankful to make Badenweiler a 
halting-place ; but I must admit that after the 
mountain regions from which we had come we 
found it somewhat stifling and closed in, and on 
the first day our energies were only sufficient to 
drag us wearily round the sights of Badenweiler 
itself. In this respect Badenweiler has much to 
K 145 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

offer, for almost more than any other place in 
the Black Forest she bears the mark of history 
on her walls. Her ruined castle, above all the 
fragments of the great thermal baths built by 
her founders, the Romans, transport the modern 
visitor back through the centuries to another 
and perhaps greater civilisation. Our first 
wanderings led us through the pleasant Kurgar- 
ten fortunately situated next our hotel up 
a narrow winding path into the ruins, which 
overlook the Rhine Valley. There is no doubt 
that the massive walls stand on the foundations 
of one of the Roman watch-towers, which at 
one time ran in a long chain from north to 
south. The situation, allowing for an uninter- 
rupted view of the Rhine and the Vosges, and 
guarded on all other sides by forest and 
mountain, must have appealed irresistibly to 
the Roman military eye, and in the future ages 
the Germanic successors were no less quick 
to perceive the advantages of such a place of 
defence. The history of the castle from that 
time onwards is a chequered one. At first the 
residence of one of the Zahringer counts, who 
called the whole region round it Baden weiler, to 
distinguish it from the Castle Baden in the 
Oos Valley (Weiler signifies hamlet), it passed 
in succession into the hands of the counts of 
Freiburg, Strassburg, and Hochberg, eventually 

146 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

returning to the family of the original possessors. 
The present Grand Duke of Baden, who is a 
member of the Zahringer house, has also made 
Badenweiler a favourite autumn residence, 
though as is easily understood the decidedly 
draughty and inhospitable halls of his fathers 
know him no more. The French, to whom the 
Black Forest owes most of her ruins, laid their 
devastating hands on the castle in 1678, and 
since then it has been allowed to sink into a 
picturesque decay. From the foot of the rising 
ground, on which the shattered walls still rest, 
the Kurgarten stretches down to the old Eoman 
baths, and in spite of a tempting Kur band 
discoursing restful music at an agreeable dis- 
tance from a comfortable nook, where I had 
seated myself to enjoy the view, I was miserably 
led away to new historical investigations. The 
large sum of 40 pfennig procured the entry to 
the enclosure which has been built round the 
baths, together with the guidance of a proud 
custodian. She pointed out to us the square 
pillar at the entrance which bears the clear in- 
scription ' Dianae Abnob/ and informed us that 
the baths had been undoubtedly dedicated to 
that goddess, who du reste was looked upon as 
a patroness by the Romans garrisoned in these 
regions. Probably her love of the chase justly 
entitled her to the position. As for the baths 

147 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

themselves, they were intensely interesting 
for people with a large supply of imagination. 
An uninformed person would probably take them 
for the remnants of a house which had been 
pulled down some years back, and for unknown 
reasons covered over with a zinc roofing. I do 
not mean to be disrespectful I merely mean 
that the original marble splendour is a thing of 
the long past. The outlines of the baths, the 
resting, drying, and massaging rooms are fairly 
clearly defined, though the pipes by which the 
water was brought into the baths have not been 
discovered. By their size it is presumed that 
they were public baths which fell into disuse on 
the arrival of the Alemannen, who neither 
realised the healing powers of the springs, 
nor, apparently, cared much for baths of any 
sort. 

Having duly inspected the carefully preserved 
ruins, which date from the time of the Emperor 
Hadrian, and conjured up pictures of the elegant 
Romans, who in those days sought their health 
and pleasure in the marble precincts, we con- 
tinued our wanderings through the Kurgarten 
and eventually chanced to enter the famous 
Marmorbad (Marble Bath), erected in imitation 
of the Roman model. It must be confessed that 
the imitation is the more attractive, and the 
neighbouring Markgrafenbad, which contains 

148 



BADEN WEILER AND FREIBURG 

every thinkable convenience and comfort, makes 
one desirous of spending one's days in the 
beautifully clear water. But such pleasant 
idleness is not for ramblers, whose time is, after 
all, subject to certain limitations ; and, moreover, 
that important function, dinner, recalled us to 
the hotel. The worst of hotels of the Romer 
Bad class is that they are conducive to a state 
of dolce far niente especially after dinner 
and it required a considerable amount of firm- 
ness and cajolery on the part of my German 
friend to bring me on the road down to Ober- 
weiler and from thence to the ruins of Castle 
Neuenfels. I think it must have been the 
gloomy history of the place which tempted us 
up to the crumbling walls, for few families have 
come to so tragic and mysterious an end as the 
family of Neuenfels, and probably few castles 
would have so much to relate if the power of 
speech were granted to them as this particular 
castle. Not that its early history offers much 
excitement. Unlike most of their neighbours, 
the Neuenfels were loved by their subjects and 
enjoyed the reputation of kind and considerate 
masters, so the tragedy which cut off the race 
seems the more terrible and inexplicable. The 
story, as it has been handed down, is that in 
1540 the castle was inhabited by its old lord, 
Christoph von Neuenfels, his wife and daughter, 

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RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

and five serving people. The way down to the 
village being somewhat long and tedious, a large 
dog had been trained to go down to the village 
every day and bring back a supply of meat. 
Great was the surprise of the villagers, therefore, 
when one day the faithful animal failed to put 
in its customary appearance, and the surprise 
increased to alarm as the days passed and still 
nothing was heard of the inhabitants of the 
castle. At last a party of the more courageous 
spirits ventured up, and forcing a way into the 
inner courtyard found the Lord of Neuenfels 
and his whole household murdered. No trace 
of the murderers was ever found, and the crime 
remains a mystery to this day. But since then 
no one has dared to inhabit the gloomy rooms, 
and little by little decay has laid the haunted 
castle in ruins. We lingered some time in the 
solitude of the ivy-grown walls and allowed our 
imagination to run riot, painting the dread 
scene which they must have witnessed before 
they bade their farewell to their last inhabitants. 
Thus having reduced ourselves to a pleasant 
state of ' creepiness ' we set out on the way 
home, this time choosing the path over the 
Schwartze saddle, from whence we had a fine 
view over Badenweiler, and so reached the 
Niederweiler. Our guide-book informed us that 
this walk is particularly to be recommended on 

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BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

Sunday morning between ten and eleven o'clock, 
as the wanderer can then enjoy the sound of 
twelve different churches ringing their bells at 
the same time. Personally, I find one church 
bell more than enough, but should the reader 
have avaricious tastes in this matter I give him 
the information for what it is worth. 

Once more in Badenweiler we were still 
sufficiently energetic after our three hours' walk 
to look into the Protestant church, which, 
though it has been rebuilt and presents from 
the outside an entirely modern appearance, 
contains some curious old relics from the 
original building. Amongst other matters of 
interest we discovered an ancient Gothic wall 
painting representing a ' Todentanz,' or ' danse 
Macabre/ probably the oldest painting of the 
kind in Germany. I said we ' discovered ' it, 
which statement, I fear, is a distortion of the 
true facts of the case. It was actually 
discovered by the art-historian Wilhelm Ltibke, 
some few years before, and when I mention 
ourselves in the matter I merely mean that we 
came across it without being led by the hand by 
a guide-book the only form of discovery left to 
us ordinary mortals. We finished our day in 
the Kurgarten, listening to the band, which 
seemed literally to play morning, noon, and 
night, and flattered ourselves that our day's 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

rambles had entitled us to the pleasure of a 
thoroughly luxurious evening. 

On the whole Badenweiler is not conducive to 
serious pedestrian effort ; the energies relax easily 
in the mild, somewhat enervating atmosphere, 
and one finds oneself only too inclined to indulge 
in what may be described as * watering-place 
walks/ that is to say, placid saunterings along 
the paths laid out for the benefit of the fashion- 
able and not very enterprising * Kur ' guests. 
Moreover, Badenweiler is essentially a place of 
small rambles ; the woods lie so close to the hotel 
doors and are so temptingly beautiful that the 
most energetic begins to ask himself why he 
should bother to move on, or if he does decide to 
reach some particular point of interest, he usually 
finds that it has been placed by an obliging 
chance at half an hour's distance. Thus our next 
enterprising feat was performed by mistake- 
one might almost say against our will. We 
had wandered up to Hausbaden (1572 feet), a 
fine hotel situated well outside Badenweiler, for 
the benefit of those who wish for greater quiet 
and fresher air, and happening to follow the 
pleasant road which winds upwards in gentle 
gradations through the forest, we found ourselves 
after an hour confronted with a signpost bearing 
the inscription, 'To the Blauen one hour.' 
After having conquered the Feldberg, it had not 

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BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

occurred to us to do any more mountain-climbing 
in this region, and personally I felt as though 
the signpost had played us a rather mean trick. 
But my German friend, who is Teutonically 
thorough, was quite determined. 

"It is absurd to be so near and not go to the 
end," she declared. And thereafter came a long 
string of the Blauen's attractions, which, of course, 
decided matters, for by the time we had argued 
out the pros and cons the summit was within 
half an hour's walk, and the idea of a Gasthaus 
in such close proximity effectually silenced my 
protests. I do not like to own it, but for once 
the guide-book was in the right : the Blauen 
(3481 feet) is worth the trouble of getting there, 
and the trouble is minimised by the fact that, 
unlike the Feldberg, the paths which lead to the 
summit are shaded by thick forest almost to the 
hotel doors. All the more wonderful is the out- 
look from the tower which has been built close 
to the hotel. Eastwards the Belchen hides the 
Feldberg from the sight, but southwards, on a 
fine day, the whole Alpine range to Mont 
Blanc is visible, and northwards the spire of the 
Freiburger cathedral rises clearly against the 
horizon. Being, as usual, lucky in our weather, 
we had the benefit of the whole panorama, which 
included westwards, our old friends the Vosges ; 
but it is very possible that other ramblers may 

153 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

be less fortunate. For the Blauen, which marks 
the extreme westerly frontier of the Black 
Forest, is the starting-point for all the worst 
storms. They break with terrific force against 
its summit, roll on to the Belchen and Feldberg, 
and from thence northwards over the whole 
forest. Well may the walls of the Gasthaus be 
strongly built and the windows reinforced by a 
double glass ! For when the thunder crashes 
against the heights to the accompaniment of a 
howling tempest, it is as though the very gates 
of pandemonium have been thrown open, letting 
loose a million relentless demons who beat with 
savage unseen hands against every obstacle that 
ventures to obstruct their path. The mere 
chance of witnessing one of these mighty, awe- 
inspiring outbreaks would alone tempt me to 
make the Blauen a few days' resting-place, but 
apart from that and, after all, the chance is 
a very doubtful one the surroundings are 
beautiful enough to prevent the visitor from 
feeling the loneliness of the situation in anything 
but a pleasant degree. After the hot-house 
temperature of Badenweiler the wonderful cool, 
bracing air was like a cup of strong wine, and we 
knew that our * wander-lust ' had revived and 
that our hours in the land of luxury were 
consequently numbered. We had rejoiced to 
regain civilisation, but the civilisation of a 

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BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

fashionable watering-place is of a wearying kind, 
and our two hours' stay on the Blauen had 
taught us our own needs. We had done with 
the flesh-pots of Egypt, and the wilds reclaimed 
us. No sooner realised, than we bade the 
hospitable Blauen G-asthof farewell and turned 
homewards with the full intention of packing 
our possessions together in preparation for the 
next day's move. For our return way we 
followed the advice of our host and chose the 
path which leads over the rocks of the Alt-en 
Mann. I do not know why they are called after 
the ' Old Man,' unless the bald, rugged appear- 
ance of the region suggested the name to some 
imaginative person. Or, perhaps, the name has 
a diabolical significance. At any rate, the 
descent by the roughly cut steps, over rustic 
bridges and round by railed-in galleries, is 
picturesque and wild enough, though somehow 
the close neighbourhood of Badenweiler made us 
feel that the 'wildness' must be put on, and 
that the Alten Mann was in reality merely a 
rockery arranged for the amusement of the Kur 
guests. From thence to the Sophien Ruh was 
only a short quarter of an hour ; but the Sophien 
Ruh, though it offers a pleasant outlook towards 
the Rhine, had small attraction after the Blauen 
panorama. Moreover, the very name proved 
that we were back in the region of watering- 

155 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

place walks, for anything that is called * Ruh ' 
or c Blick ' is closely connected in my mind 
with a summer-house-like erection built on some 
jutting piece of rock and ornamented with the 
edible leavings of sundry picnicing parties. Not 
that I suggest for a moment that the inhabitants 
of Badenweiler do anything so vulgar as picnic- 
ing, but the association of ideas was too strong 
for us, and we fled, leaving the Sophien Ruh 
under the dark suspicion of being ornamented 
with the carved names of celebrated (?) visitors and 
littered with paper and orange peel. With this 
unexpected, but none the less agreeable, ascent 
of the Blauen, our stay came to an end and the 
next morning saw us on our way to Freiburg, 
which lies a short railway journey from Baden- 
weiler and makes an admirable starting-point for 
a ramble through the great Hollenthal. But for 
this reason I doubt if we should have taken 
Freiburg into our scheme of things, for it is an 
undeniable town and we were already beginning 
to hunger after the simplicity and quiet of the 
forests. Hence we put up at an hotel nearest the 
station, with the intention of keeping our stay 
down to the limit of a day and a night before 
starting eastwards again. Nevertheless, in spite 
of its eighty thousand inhabitants, its handsome 
opera-house, university, garrison, and other 
greatnesses, we began to feel the old-world 

156 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

charm creep over us, and our regret at the 
' wasted time ' vanished. 

In truth Freiburg is one of the most beautiful 
towns in Germany, and rivals Heidelberg in its 
claim to be the pearl of Baden. Side by side 
with all its modern convenience it retains in a 
hundred hidden corners relics from its long and 
stormy history, and the forest-covered hills 
which shield it on the east have seen a changing 
pageant of the world's great ones, and bloody 
pictures of battle and siege, such as few places 
can remember. Thus it was on a point of rising 
ground lying to the south and called to-day the 
' Bergle ' that in 1644 General Mercy, at the head 
of the Bavarian troops, made a desperate stand 
against the French under Conde. The encounter 
cost both sides heavily, but Freiburg, as always, 
paid the highest price of all : her suburbs lay 
in ruins, and her monasteries, which had been 
unwisely built outside her walls, were razed to 
the ground. To commemorate these misfortunes 
the Loretto Chapel was erected, but this act of 
piety seems to have been of little avail, for exactly 
a hundred years later the French Marshall de 
Coigny took up his position on the same spot, 
having found it an admirable vantage-point 
for the bombardment of the town. Louis xv. 
himself watched the work of destruction from 
the Loretto Chapel, and an iron cannon-ball, 

157 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

which to-day is to be found embedded in the wall 
above the chapel door, testifies to the fact that 
the monarch nearly paid for the entertainment 
with his life. As a punishment for this un- 
grateful and disrespectful act, Freiburg was 
reduced to a state of ruin for about the seventh 
time, and one can but wonder that after all these 
discouraging experiences she did not give up her 
existence altogether. 

From the beginning her history had been 
marked by stormy changes. Founded by a 
Zahringer in 1091, she passed into the hands 
of the Uracks, who from that time styled 
themselves the Counts of Freiburg ; but the 
new lords were so little loved that in despera- 
tion the town put itself under Austrian 
protection. It appears to have been a case of 
' out of the frying-pan into the fire ' ; but this 
state of things lasted about four hundred years, 
during which time the town suffered not only for 
other peoples' quarrels, but bore the brunt of 
the Peasants' War. In 1806 she returned to 
the family Zahringer, and since then has known 
a peaceful and uninterrupted development. 
Still, traces of her warlike past remain. On 
our way back from the Loretto Chapel, which 
lies to the south-west of the town, we passed 
through the picturesque Schwalben Thor, a 
last remnant of the old defences. On the inner 

158 



BADEN WEILER AND FREIBURG 

wall a curious picture, representing a peasant 
with a cart, illustrates a popular story which 
typified the tendency of the Alemannen to make 
fun of their Swabian neighbours. A rich 
Swabian peasant, having made up his rather 
dull mind to buy Freiburg, came to the town 
with two sacks full of gold and casually 
inquired 

"Was kostet's Stad'le?" (What does this 
bit of town cost?) The amusement of the 
Freiburgers reached its climax when a further 
investigation proved that the gold -sacks con- 
tained in reality nothing but sand, the peasant's 
wife having performed the exchange possibly 
in order to prove that the Swabian women, 
at least, are as sharp as their neighbouring 
sisters. 

Leaving the old gate behind us we rambled 
out of the town and followed the road which 
leads upwards to the Schlossberg. As the 
name suggests, two castles once guarded the 
rocky eminence, but the wars of 1744 reduced 
them to ruins, and now little remains to be 
seen but a few broken walls, which have been 
mercifully left by the busy vine growers. But 
the view is justly famous, and having enjoyed 
a midday refreshment at the restaurant, we 
wandered to the Ludwigshohe, from whence the 
finest panorama can be obtained. To the left 

159 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the high mountains draw together, and through 
the afternoon haze we caught a glimpse of the 
entrance to the Hollenthal, which was to be 
the scene of our future wanderings, and closer 
at hand the wide and fruitful Dreisam Valley, 
dotted with villages and groups of residential 
houses. A convenient plan, set up for the use 
of ignorant wanderers, pointed out to us the 
distant heights of our old friend, the Blauen, 
whose almost purple colouring, intensified by 
distance, explained the origin of its name, and 
in the Rhine Valley the mysterious Schonberg 
caught our attention. The legend which is 
connected with this mountain reminds one of 
the Venusberg in Tannhduser, with the differ- 
ence that the pilgrims returning from Rome 
with the budding branches of forgiveness were 
compelled to excavate in the mountain itself 
before they found the dead body of the knight 
on horseback. The beauty who had tempted 
him from the paths of virtue remained un- 
discovered, and it is probable that one of the 
curiously formed grottos which are to be found 
in the country round about gave rise to the 
whole story. At any rate, it is understood that 
the most susceptible may visit Schonberg 
without danger, and the fine view should 
recompense him for the two hours' journey and 
non-appearance of Frau Venus, who has either 

160 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

reformed her ways or found the region too dull 
and moved her quarters to a country where her 
charms are better appreciated. 

Looking away from this once enchanted 
mountain, our eyes wandered over the Khine 
Valley and rested for a moment on the 
Wiehre, a suburb of Freiburg, lying on the 
south side of the river Dreisam. The name 
1 Wiehre ' reminded my German friend that 
we were in the land of witches, and that 
the Wiehre in particular had once been so famous 
for these dangerous old ladies that an execu- 
tioner of the time won a wager by betting that 
there were more witches in the village than 
could be got into a four-horse wagon. In truth 
the unfortunate folk enjoyed a most unenviable 
lot, and as the Kandel a high mountain 
situated in the north-west between Freiburg 
and Waldkirch was popularly supposed to be 
the abode of evil spirits, both towns were ready 
to torture any old woman on the slightest 
evidence age and a sharp tongue being looked 
upon as enough to arouse and justify the worst 
suspicions. Accusations of witchcraft were the 
order of the day, and spurred on by the clergy 
and the Austrian government, the people of 
Freiburg let scarcely a month pass without 
erecting a bonfire for the benefit of some hapless 
old dame. In the mountains, where ignorance 
L 161 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

and the tyranny of the clergy were particularly 
rampant, it was the custom to lay the effects 
of a storm at the door of the first unpopular 
old woman who was too weak to offer any 
resistance, and to put her to death on the 
charge of having made bad weather. The last 
witch to be burnt in this part of the country 
was an old woman of Endingen on the Kaiser- 
stuhl, who in 1751 was put to death by order 
of the Catholic faculty because, through an act 
of carelessness she had set fire to a house. A 
few years afterwards the Empress Maria Theresa 
forbade the practice, which had already been 
put down in the Protestant regions, and old 
age was at last safe from popular and religious 
fanaticism. 

It might be mentioned that the Jews in 
Freiburg fared scarcely better ; but in spite of 
the fact that in the fourteenth century they 
were totally exterminated, their power nowadays 
is such that in some branches of trade, and 
notably in agricultural matters, the peasant 
suffers severely. Hence, even to-day a Jew 
in the Black Forest is looked upon with 
hatred and distrust, and he usually confines 
his attentions to the actual trading in the 
towns. 

All this information I reaped from my com- 
panion, who then pointed to the north-west, 

162 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

to the graceful outline of a mountain which 
rises in solitary grandeur out of the Ehine 
Valley. Its solitude reminds one a little of 
the Hohentwiel, but the whole extended form, 
with its varying and rounded peaks, is gentler, 
more pastoral. It is the Kaiserstuhl, so called 
because in past ages it was dimly supposed to 
have been the Imperial seat of justice. On the 
highest point the Todtenkopf (167 7 feet) there 
once grew an old lime tree, with nine mighty 
shoots, under whose shade the great Rudolf 
of Habsburg held his court of justice. The 
trees yielded at last to the ravages of the 
storms, and though nine other lime trees have 
been planted to take their place they have not 
the historical interest, nor, as yet, the beauty 
of their predecessors. Strictly speaking, the 
Kaiserstuhl does not belong to the Black Forest, 
the very nature of its vegetation, which includes 
scarcely any pine wood, makes it essentially 
a contrast ; but the traveller who has gone as 
far as Freiburg would do well to extend his 
journey to this interesting region. The vine- 
yards which grow round the foot of the 
mountain give no idea of the wonderful 
growth of flowers and rare plants which are 
to be fpund on the higher points. Especially 
in spring the Kaiserstuhl resembles a veritable 
fairy garden, decked with lilies-of-the-valley, 

163 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

anemones, orchids, and covered with the rich 
purple of the Pulsatilla. The traveller who has a 
day to spare cannot do better than take the train 
from Freiburg to Ihringen and thence walk the 
whole length of the Kaiserstuhl over the Todten- 
kopf and the Katherinenberg to Endingen, where 
the railway is once more at hand to transport 
him back to Freiburg. The whole walk requires 
about four hours, and offers an unrivalled view 
over Alsace, the Vosges, the Black Forest, and, 
on a clear day, the south horizon reveals the 
pale shimmer of Mont Blanc. The Katherinen- 
berg, be it remarked in passing, possesses a 
chapel dedicated to St. Katherine which St. 
Katherine is not clear and in its present 
form was erected in 1862. The original, how- 
ever, was founded by a noble and pious lady 
in 1388, but having suffered not only from 
wind and weather, but from the godless hands 
of the warriors of the Thirty Years' War, it 
fell into disuse until a certain peasant dis- 
covered its existence, and being also of a 
holy frame of mind had it repaired as a 
hermitage. 

But I have wandered far afield be it con- 
fessed to another and earlier rambling period, 
and from our position on the Ludwig's Hohe in 
Freiburg there are other things to be seen. Thus 
at our feet lies the town itself with the graceful, 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

noble Dom rising, like an inspired thought trans- 
formed to stone, out of the midst of the clustering 
houses. I know no other cathedral in Germany 
and, indeed, in Europe which arouses quite *he 
same feeling of admiration and reverence as this 
Freiburger Dom. The Cologne appears clumsy, 
ostentatious compared to the wonderful poetry 
which lies hidden in every line of this most 
perfect architectural expression of German 
character. For, indeed, to me there is something 
in the whole building essentially Teutonic : there 
is poetry, an almost ethereal, unreal beauty in 
the inimitable spire, which from a distance looks 
like a piece of the most delicate lace-work cut 
in rich red sandstone ; there is also a certain 
lack of harmony in the outline, a certain rugged- 
ness, therefore, mingled with strength and sweet- 
ness which makes one feel that the builder 
unconsciously has erected a monument to the 
genius the ' Geist ' of his race. Who the 
builder was no one knows, though his portrait 
is to be found cut in stone in the first tower 
gallery. The work was begun under Konrad of 
Zahringen in the beginning of the twelfth 
century. By 1146 the building was so far 
advanced that the holy Bernard of Clairvaux 
was able to preach the Crusades from its pulpit. 
Nevertheless the cathedral was not actually 
finished until nearly a hundred years later, and 

165 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

small additions were made as late as the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, hence a certain lack 
of uniformity in style and construction. In 
spite of this failing if failing it be the 
cathedral represents a definite idea logically 
carried out. The extreme simplicity of the 
body of the building is a deliberate preparation 
for the increasing richness of design, finding its 
culmination in the spire, which, though often 
imitated, has no rival in the world. A minute 
description of the architectural beauties of 
the Dom would take me too far from our 
rambles, and there are guides and guide-books 
enough more than enough to tell the in- 
quirer everything he could want to know ; but 
he who has been to Freiburg and not viewed 
the cathedral from the Ludwig's Hohe, not 
wandered about before the wonderful western 
fagade, not lingered in the dim light of 
the majestic aisle, nor climbed his way up 
to the belfry, with its thirteen mighty bells, 
and higher still to the topmost platform of 
the spire, from whence the whole beauty of 
the cathedral lies revealed, has missed one 
of the greatest wonders which Germany lias 
to show. 

Close to the cathedral stands the Kaufhaus, a 
one-storeyed building also in red sandstone, and 
an interesting example of the transition from 

166 




FKKIHURC CATHEDRAL. 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

Gothic to the Eenaissance period. But of this 
there is little to be seen from our elevated 
position : the spire seems to reduce its sur- 
roundings to a humble uniformity, and we turn 
our eyes northwards towards the Zahringen Burg, 
which lies at about two and a half hours' walk 
from Freiburg over the suburb Herdeon and 
past the well-known Gasthaus zum Jager- 
hauschen. Though little remains of the ruins it 
is of interest as one of the oldest castles on the 
upper Rhine and the residence of the first of the 
Zahringen race. The legend has it that a poor 
peasant having discovered a silver mine in the 
mountain amassed great wealth, with which 
he helped a deposed emperor, who had taken 
refuge on the Kaiserstuhl, back to his throne. 
As a reward the peasant was made Duke of Zah- 
ringen and of course married the emperor's 
daughter. He built the town of Freiburg in 
Switzerland and also the village and castle of 
Zahringen ; but apparently his new greatness 
acted deleteriously on his character, for he 
became notorious as a tyrant and evil-doer, and 
not even the monasteries of St. Peter and St. 
Trudpert, which he built in a fit of remorse, could 
save him from the punishment dealt out to such 
persons by all respectable legends. After death 
he was banished, in the form of a stone figure 
the prince with the heart of stone to a distant 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

mountain by the sea, and to this day he is 
supposed to be paying the penalty of his sins. 
The legend refers probably to Berthold v., whose 
stone statue is to be found in the cathedral and 
of whom history has nothing but evil to relate. 
With the extinction of the Zahringen house 
the present grand - ducal family belongs to 
another line the castle passed into the hands 
of the Counts of Freiburg, and in the course of 
the bloody quarrels between the latter and their 
subjects the castle was reduced to ruins. After 
having been built up again, and passing from 
one owner to another, it was finally destroyed in 
the Thirty Years' War. So much for the sur- 
roundings as the Ludwig's Hohe revealed them 
to us ! There are as many more places that I 
have not mentioned which could keep the 
traveller occupied for days in rambling about 
Freiburg, but the Spirit of the Black Forest 
beckoned us from the rocky entrance to the 
Hollenthal, reminding us that we were but on 
the outskirts of her territory and that she had 
much more to show us. At the same time, in 
case the reader should ever come to Freiburg 
and have more time at his disposal, I cannot 
refrain from recommending two other rambles, 
the one to the pilgrimage chapel of St. Ottilien, 
the other to the Hexenthal (Witches' Valley). 
The former spot is reached by the road which 

168 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

leads past the Kanonenplatz and the ruins of 
an old Carthusian monastery (1346) at the east 
side of the town, through beautiful pine forest 
up to the Koszkopf. After an hour's walking 
the traveller meets the first of the stations that 
warn him that he is near the place of pilgrimage 
itself. Legend traces the founding of the 
chapel, which lies in the thick of the forest, 
back to the year 680, when Ottilie, the daughter 
of an Alsatian duke, fled from her father for 
some unknown but certainly righteous reason, 
and in the hour of her need was saved from his 
wrath by the rocks, which opened and swallowed 
her up. Overcome by remorse the duke built 
a chapel on the holy spot, and the waters which 
from that hour sprang from the rock became 
celebrated for their power of curing all diseases 
of the eye. Judging from the many offerings 
which ornament the chapel, their mysterious 
and healing influence has been left them ; but in 
any case a pilgrimage to the chapel is not wasted, 
and the pilgrim is free to choose any of the 
beautiful forest paths which lead back to 
Freiburg. 

The Hexenthal is best traversed with a 
carriage, but a good walker should be able to 
reach Bollschweil in all ease and comfort in 
about two hours, and should his energies then 
forsake him he can either continue as far as 

169 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Staufen, where the railway is at his disposal, or 
make use of the automobile service between 
Freiburg and Bollschweil. The name of the 
valley is to be traced back to the story of an 
old peasant woman, 'Annele/ who refused to 
join in with the general lamentations over the 
effects of a disastrous storm, but went about 
shaking her head and mumbling, ' Selber tun, 
selber haben,' or, roughly translated, ' Work 
yourself, get yourself.' This peculiar behaviour 
gave rise to the suspicion that she knew more 
about the storm than a human person should 
know that, in fact, she had been the wilful 
cause of the whole trouble ; but the judge, do 
what he would, could not drag a confession out 
of her. At last, in a fit of temper, he declared 
that she was a stupid old woman and no witch, 
which so hurt her dignity that she promptly 
turned her apron into a rabbit with long ears, 
which, on investigation, disappeared. Poor 
Annele had to pay dearly for this piece of 
bravado. She was immediately bound to a 
stake and burnt on the spot, which to-day is 
called the ' Hexenmattle.' As a matter of fact 
a little old woman with a straw hat, a fur coat, 
and one white and one red stocking still haunts 
the valley perhaps the spirit of the boastful 
Annele searching for her lost rabbit. Personally, 
I have not met her, but then our visit to the 

170 



BADENWEILER AND FREIBURG 

Hexenthal was of the briefest a mere after- 
noon's drive through the Bollschweil and the 
next day the train bore us away from Freiburg, 
the land of witches, to another and wilder 
region, the Hollenthal. 



171 



CHAPTEE X 

THROUGH THE HOLLENTHAL TO 
GUTACH 

HITHERTO I have endeavoured as much as pos- 
sible to translate the names of the various 
places we have visited in order that their full 
significance and many of them have a signifi- 
cance may be apparent to the reader not 
acquainted with the German language. But 
the Hollenthal makes me hesitate. What would 
paterfamilias, on a tour through the Black 
Forest, say to the idea of conducting his offspring 
through the Valley of Hell ? Well, the word is 
out now, and if any one is shocked I can only 
protest that I am not responsible for the out- 
spokenness of the wicked German, and that the 
Hollenthal is in reality a very beautiful and 
entirely respectable region. Still, it must be 
admitted that the originators of the name must 
have had something infernal in their minds, for 
at the entrance to the valley we find ourselves 
at the station ' Himmelreich ' (Kingdom of 

172 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

Heaven), which suggests that a traveller on 
leaving the Hollenthal behind him, and seeing 
for the first time the wide, fruitful valley of the 
Dreisam, with the Dom spire in the distance, 
feels himself, by comparison, in another and a 
better world. Still, bold ramblers as we were, 
we allowed our luggage to proceed on its way 
per train, whilst we braved the clangers of the 
region on foot. 

The journey through the Hollenthal is one of 
those where great discretion must be used in 
the method of procedure. The rambler who 
insists on doing the whole distance from Frei- 
burg on foot loses time and energy to no purpose, 
the luxurious one who can afford a carriage 
indulges in an unnecessary expense, and the 
most foolish of all, he who clings to the railway 
in the hope that he will be able to see enough 
from the window, loses the finest part of the 
scenery. The wise travellers (ourselves, for in- 
stance) make use of the train as far as Himmel- 
reich, and then spread the four hours' walk 
over the rest of the day, making halts and 
side excursions where their fancy pleases. 
As a matter of fact, the grandest part of 
the scenery confines itself to a comparatively 
short stretch between the Hirschsprung and 
the Ravenna - Schlucht, and the rest of the 
way can be safely traversed with the rail- 

173 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

way without fear of missing anything of im- 
portance. 

The railway itself, as so often in the Black 
Forest, is one of the ' sights/ and it amused us 
as we tramped along the well-kept road to watch 
some black puffing monster wending its way 
along the side of the precipice, disappearing in 
yawning tunnels, only to appear again some dis- 
tance ahead with a shriek of triumph. As a 
matter of fact the railway, wonderful as it is, 
remains a failure, except from a tourist point of 
view. Various errors of judgment, such as the 
constant repetition of unnecessarily sharp curves, 
have considerably reduced the speed, and the 
necessary use of the cog-wheel system from 
Hinterzarten has made the transport of heavy 
goods an impossibility. Compared to the Black 
Forest railway proper, the Hollenthal Bahn has 
nothing wonderful to show, but it is undeniably 
useful, and we, at any rate, were sincerely grateful 
to the State for having performed a useful task. 

As for the road, along which we wended our 
way, its first origin is unknown. It appears 
that it was laid in order that the Princess Marie 
Antoinette might be brought to France as much 
as possible over Austrian territory, but it is also 
certain that a good road of some sort must have 
existed beforehand, though possibly not always 
leading over the same ground. As it stands 

174 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

to-day it is one of the finest in the Black Forest, 
and as we tramped up the increasingly steep 
gradations we pictured the wonders of a bicycle 
tour from the highest point down to Freiburg 
and for the first time wished that we had started 
at the other end. 

In any case, whether he starts from Freiburg 
or from Titisee, the rambler with his bicycle may 
count on a pleasant ride, only, if he go from 
Freiburg, he must be prepared to ' foot it ' 
occasionally, and if from Titisee he must be 
strong of nerve and not allow the joys of free- 
wheeling to run away with his discretion. But 
'revenons a nos moutons' and to our wholly 
dangerless wanderings from Himmelreich to the 
first grandeurs of the Hollenthal ! Shortly after 
we had left the little station behind us, my 
companion, who never lets anything escape her 
alert eye, discovered the ruins of Burg Neu- 
Falkenstein towering above us from the summit 
of the rocks which were beginning to close in on 
either side. The Neu-Falkenstein Burg was, 
she informed me, only a kind of branch estab- 
lishment of the actual Burg Falkenstein which 
we were to pass farther along the road. Legend 
surrounds both castles with a halo of romance, 
and the name ' Falkenstein ' according to the 
legend is to be traced back to a remarkable 
episode. A certain Konrad von Stein, one of 

175 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the first owners of the castle, was deeply troubled 
by the fact that his marriage remained childless, 
and having been instructed by a dream, started 
off on a crusade with Gottfried von Bouillon in 
order to propitiate Heaven into granting him his 
wish. At parting he divided his wedding-ring 
with his wife, and made her promise him to wait 
at least seven years for his return. The un- 
fortunate gentleman, however, fell into the 
hands of the Saracens, and the seven years 
passed before he succeeded in making his escape. 
Again a dream in those believing days it was 
always a dream which helped the story-teller 
over those nasty hitches in the train of circum- 
stance which worry the modern novelist warned 
him that his wife was on the point of marrying 
another, and on awaking the knight made a 
compact with the devil, who had been simply 
awaiting the occasion. The compact was that 
the devil should transport Konrad back to his 
castle, but should the latter fall asleep on the 
road his soul should become the devil's property. 
No sooner agreed than the devil became a lion 
which caught up the alarmed crusader and started 
with him on the long journey. Time after time 
the knight overcame the agonising need of sleep, 
and at the critical moment, just when temptation 
was getting the better of him, a white falcon 
was sent from heaven, and perching itself on 

176 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

his head, so maltreated him with wings and 
beak that he had no choice but to keep awake. 
The cheated devil thereupon set him down at 
the gates of his castle, already thronged with 
the wedding guests, and the dishevelled pilgrim 
reached his wife in time to prevent the second 
marriage. It is said that the wife at first refused 
to recognise her husband, but as he produced 
his half of the ring her half immediately flew to 
rejoin itself in a complete circle, which even for 
the most sceptical was uncontrovertible proof. 
At any rate, ' All's well that ends well ' : the 
disappointed bridegroom took to his heels, and 
as a token of his gratitude Konrad von Stein 
added a white falcon to his coat of arms and 
called his castle ' Falkenstein.' But, alas ! the 
legend, as usual, corresponds but little with the 
true facts of the case. Truthful history relates 
that the Falkensteiners were robber knights of 
the worst character ; their wives even took part 
in the work of catching and plundering the un- 
fortunates who were signalled from the outposts 
at Neu-Falkenstein, and for this and their general 
cruelty they were hated by neighbours and 
peasants alike. But one day a woman, whose 
husband and newborn babe had been brutally 
murdered, and who herself had barely escaped 
with her life, succeeded in raising the Freiburgers 
to action. With the help of the neighbouring 
M 177 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

knights the Castle Falkenstein was taken by 
storm in the middle of the winter 1390 and 
razed to the ground. The common folk were 
put to death, but the real culprits, the lords of 
the castle, were allowed to go free after having 
sworn a great oath of allegiance to their con- 
querors. Whether they kept it or not history 
does not relate, but their castle was never rebuilt, 
and the present-day neighbours are firm in their 
assertion that the place is haunted with the 
spirits of the Falkensteiner victims whose bones 
lie buried amongst the ruins. 

From the Neu-Falkenstein onwards our road 
led us through a region of increasing wild- 
ness ; the rocky walls of the valley drew in 
closer around us and rose up like rugged towers, 
crowned at the summit with grand weather- 
beaten pines. At one point, where the valley 
becomes scarcely more than a narrow gorge, we 
looked up to the Hirschsprung, a mighty preci- 
pice, which seems to overshadow the pass 
beneath like some watching giant, and beheld 
the silhouette of what appeared to be a stag, 
preparing to leap over the chasm to the opposite 
side. The stag, unfortunately, turned out to be 
a bronze figure, whose tasteless existence at the 
finest part of the ravine is supposed to com- 
memorate a legendary feat performed by some 
hunted stag in bygone days. We had already 

178 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

seen another ' Hirschsprung ' in the Wehra 
Valley, and I might mention that wherever a 
precipice is faced within reasonable distance 
by another precipice, the place is sure to be 
called the Hirschsprung, and the natives will 
all be equally ready to perjure themselves with 
some unlikely account of the origin of the name. 
Altogether the repetition of names in the Black 
Forest is most misleading ; there are, for in- 
stance, two or three valleys bearing the name 
of ' Gutach,' and it behoves the traveller to be 
careful or he will find himself in the east when 
his desired destination lies due west. Be it 
made clear, therefore, that our road through 
the Hollenthal was to bring us to the Gutach 
that lies north of Donaueschingen on the banks 
of the river Gutach. 

From the moment that we left the Hirsch- 
sprung behind us the valley lost something of 
its interest ; the rocks on either hand drew back, 
and the fresh green which covered the mountain- 
sides, though a change after the barren ravine 
by the Hirschsprung, reduced the valley to the 
level of many others which we had seen. Thus 
we were not altogether sorry when another 
hour's walk brought us to Hollsteig, where we 
had promised ourselves dinner at the Gasthaus 
zum Stern, a pleasant little inn lying deep 
down in the valley at the foot of the Kaiser- 

179 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

wachtfelsen. The advice of our host, who 
watched over us with a fatherly interest as we 
hungrily attacked our trout dinner, led us to 
change our original plan of walking the rest of 
the way to Titisee through the Hollenthal. He 
pointed out to us that we had already seen the 
most beautiful part of the Hollenthal, and that 
it was worse than criminal to leave Hollsteig 
without paying a visit to the Ravennaschlucht, 
which was the pearl of the Black Forest. We 
had by this time encountered a good many 
' pearls,' but our host was so decided about the 
matter, and seemed to look upon the gorge so 
much in the light of a personal possession, that 
we felt that there was nothing for it but to give 
w^ay. Thus, after a brief survey of the surround- 
ings, which had once more assumed the wild and 
rocky character of the lower valley, we wended 
our way down the path to the great viaduct, the 
finest piece of engineering which the whole Holl- 
enthal railway has to show. Measuring over four 
hundred feet in length it is supported by three 
mighty stone pillars and leads over the Ravenna- 
schlucht to the last stiff ascent to Hinterzarten. 
But our way lay beneath the viaduct, along a 
narrow path, and then up roughly cut steps, but 
always at the side of the foaming Ravennabach 
(why it is called * Ravenna' is not certain, but 
presumably the name is derived from 'Raben,' 

180 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

raven). Twenty minutes' climbing brought us 
over a fine waterfall to the Ravennafelsen and 
thence once more on the high-road. Had the 
time allowed, we might have continued to follow 
the gorge as far as the Schanz, from whence 
a fine view can be obtained over the upper 
Hollenthal, but in the first place we were 
anxious to catch the train from Hinterzarten 
to Titisee, and in the second we had been warned 
that the path was sorely neglected and almost 
impracticable. Even as it was we found the 
gorge quite sufficiently troublesome to negotiate, 
and we were glad enough to accept the services 
of the puffing and snorting little train which 
at Hinterzarten discards the cog-wheel for the 
ordinary rails. For we were now in the Black 
Forest Highlands, a new region as wonderful as, 
if entirely different from, the wilderness of rock 
and forest that the Hollenthal had revealed to 
us. As we watched the straggling village of 
Hinterzarten disappear into the background we 
felt that by some miracle we had climbed up 
into a high plain, into a broad pastoral valley 
yet swept with pine-laden mountain winds and 
roofed by a sky which somehow seemed to have 
come closer to us. We had, indeed, a feeling 
that we had been brought nearer to heaven than 
we had ever been before a very correct state 
of mind after our pilgrimage through the 

181 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Hollenthal and we were grateful for the in- 
spiration which had led us to take up our night 
quarters at Titisee, w r hich lies in the very heart 
of the Highlands. But it is a mistake to be 
grateful for inspirations until one sees where 
they take one. Somehow or other a cold chill 
of disappointment settled on our spirits as we 
descended from the railway carriage and gathered 
together as many of our possessions as we 
required for our short stay. I think we scented 
already from afar off the familiar atmosphere 
of St. Blasien's cheap smartness and our old 
acquaintances the sociable would-be society folk. 
We were not, unfortunately, mistaken in our 
apprehensions. The table d'hote at the Schwarz- 
wald Hotel (situated on the borders of the lake 
and fairly comfortable when not overcrowded) 
revealed their actuality to a depressing degree, 
and we consumed our dinner in sulky silence, 
surrounded on all sides by smart would-be 
sporting young men, and smart would-be fas- 
cinating maidens trying to charm the masculine 
element by high spirits and alluring sweetness. 
They belonged essentially to the class which 
patronises cheap Swiss Alpine resorts and jumps 
up every five minutes from the dinner-table 
to rush to the window and gape at a real or 
imaginary * Alpine glow ' ; if the reader has ever 
sunk so low paradoxically as to visit a cheap 

183 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

Alpine resort he will understand what I mean 
and sympathise. Half deafened by the general 
chattering shouting would scarcely be a too 
strong expression we hurried away out of the 
hotel grounds and tried to lose ourselves, or 
rather our fellow-creatures, in a long evening 
ramble about the borders of the lake. Fortun- 
ately our fellow-creatures on this occasion were 
not of the type that likes going far afield from 
its own species, and ten minutes' quick walking 
put us out of hearing of the giggling crowd and 
left us in undisturbed enjoyment of the twilight 
and the lake. In the light of the fading evening 
the popular Titisee did not disappoint us : there 
was a peaceful charm about its quiet, unruffled 
waters which acted soothingly on our tired and 
decidedly ruffled spirits ; the low mountains, 
rising gently from the banks, expressed peace if 
not grandeur, and there was a gentle melancholy 
in the silence that was not untouched with the 
mystery which belongs to the Spirit of the Black 
Forest when she is undisturbed. 

" What a lovely place the world would be 
without the people in it ! " my German friend 
murmured, still sore with her table d'hote ex- 
periences and apparently labouring under the 
delusion that some extraordinary superiority 
separated her from the rest of the despised 
human race. I sympathised too deeply to dis- 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

illusion her, and together we lingered in the 
dusk, waiting to hear the ringing of the church 
bells which lie deep below the surface of the 
waters. For whereas there are some that say 
the name Titi comes from 'Tinten,' ink, there 
are other and wiser folk who maintain that the 
word is derived from ' titimire,' to ring, and 
tell a sad story of a town and a monastery which 
were swallowed up by the waters as a punish- 
ment for a wanton luxury. Later the waters of 
the lake threatened to burst into the Hollenthal 
and sweep away the whole of the Dreisam Valley, 
but an old witch stopped up the opening with 
her night-cap and averted the catastrophe, 
proving, therefore, that even witches have their 
uses and should be propitiated. Unfortunately 
a thread of the night-cap wears out every year, 
so that unless some other friendly old soul is per- 
suaded into sacrificing her head -gear the danger 
will become imminent, and I advise the rambler 
to make haste if he wishes to visit the Titisee 
in safety. For the rest the Titisee is about 
half an hour's walk in length, a quarter of an hour 
across, and about one hundred and twenty feet deep. 
This latter fact should only be mentioned in a 
whisper, as it is a fearful and dangerous subject. 
One of the few who attempted to plumb the dark 
depths was warned by a terrible voice that if he 
continued his impertinent investigations he would 

184 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

be swallowed up, and since then no one has 
inquired further into the matter. Probably it 
was a man from Cook's who eventually risked 
his life to satisfy Anglo-Saxon curiosity the 
natives would never have been so disrespectful 
to their own legends. 

Stripped of its legend and an all-beautifying 
sunset the Titisee can scarcely be reckoned to be 
one of the most beautiful Black Forest lakes. It is 
too bald and, in spite of its height (2574 feet), too 
hot in the midday sunshine to make it a pleasant 
resort at any other than in the early season. 
That it is always overcrowded proves less than 
nothing, and the traveller who has been tempted 
so far would do well to follow in our footsteps 
as we walked early the next morning through 
the opening of the Barenthal to Erlenbruch. 

We were now once more in the region of the 
Feldberg, having travelled from the south-eastern 
corner of the Black Forest to the western corner 
and once more east, and our road brought us to 
the banks of the Seebach, which we had met once 
before under the names of Gutach and Wutach. 
In fact, peaceful Boll seemed almost within 
calling distance, though many miles of sometimes 
arduous and sometimes luxurious journeying 
separated us from our starting-point. 

From the village of Bruderhalde we looked 
up to the broad back of the Feldberg, which 

185 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

divided us from Todtnau, and then the valley 
narrowed and took on something of the wild, 
rugged character of the Feldsee, the Gutach's 
birthplace. We could easily imagine that this 
wilderness had once well merited its name of 
the Bear's Valley, until in the year 1611 the first 
bold pioneers attacked their lairs and after 
much strenuous labour won the valley for them- 
selves. Even to-day the region is solitary 
enough ; save for the inhabitants of the quiet 
village we met few wanderers, and the social 
folk of Titisee seemed to ignore the place alto- 
gether. I hope I shall not seem unduly misan- 
thropic if I confess that the fact caused me no 
severe heartburnings. Yet we cannot exactly 
lay claim to having discovered the Barenthal 
and its charms. Three quarters of an hour's walk 
brought us to Erlenbruck, where a pleasant little 
Gasthaus (zum Schwan) showed us that there 
were other ramblers who preferred simple fare 
and peaceful idyllic surroundings to the noisy 
pretentiousness of popular resorts. Here for 
5 marks a day the visitor may enjoy all that 
the Black Forest has to show in the beauty of 
wood and moor, rock and sunlit pastures, and 
his must be an exacting constitution which 
does not take in fresh strength with the pure 
mountain air as it comes down from the Feld- 
berg heights. Naturally the rambler must not 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

expect too much for his 5 marks a day, but as 
in Boll, so here, every reasonable comfort is at 
hand, and many of the discomforts of hotel life 
are absent. Had we not bound ourselves to a 
certain afternoon train which was to take us 
away from Titisee's unloved inhabitants, we 
might have relapsed from our energetic wander- 
ings into a week's dolce far niente. But destiny, 
in the form of our departed luggage, called us 
to other and, as we were to experience, less 
peaceful adventures. The railway journey from 
Titisee to Donaueschingen took us through the 
changing scenery which characterises the Black 
Forest Highlands. Here wide stretches of open 
country remind us of the Swiss mountain pas- 
tures, then suddenly deep wooded clefts such as 
can be found in the Black Forest only. The 
large windows which a considerate State had 
provided for the benefit of travellers on the 
Black Forest railway allowed us to see and 
admire from every side, and the time passed 
in observation and plan-making. Hitherto we 
had been rather proud of the fact that, flaunting 
the warnings and advice of all the guide-books 
that were ever written, we had avoided * plans ' 
of any sort, and in all our wanderings had never 
bound ourselves by previous engagement to any 
particular hotel for any particular period. As 
the reader has seen, this plan of making no plans 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

had worked admirably. We had never had any 
real difficulty in obtaining rooms, and where 
the place had not pleased us we had been free 
to shake the dust off our feet without any 
unpleasant discussion with disappointed hoteliers. 
Now for some reason we began to suffer 
from hitherto unknown misgivings. Our des- 
tination, Gutach, had been described to us as 
a charming village, interesting from the point of 
view of its people, and known only to artists and 
the genuine Black Forest lovers, but wholly 
without hotel accommodation. True, there were 
three or four Gasthauser, and we comforted 
ourselves with their homely names and the 
assurance that there was bound to be room 
for us 'somewhere.' Possibly we had become 
a little ' puffed up ' with the success of our 
haphazard methods, for after a moment's qualms 
we subsided into the peaceful conclusion that 
nothing of an unpleasant nature having happened 
to us so far, nothing unpleasant could happen in 
the future. Thus the gods blind those whom 
they are about to destroy. Neustadt and the 
little town of Hoffingen had meanwhile been 
left behind us : the first named is of com- 
paratively recent origin and has little of interest 
to offer the visitor ; the second, though its history 
dates back to distant ages when a savage people 
offered up their sacrifices on low, undulating 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

hills, can be passed over without serious loss. 
From certain findings it is known to have been 
a Roman colony, and in later years the chief 
meeting-place of the much persecuted Black 
Forest witches. But these facts did not fascinate 
sufficiently, and we were content to pass on 
over our old Boll acquaintance Doggingen to 
Donaueschingen. Here the necessity of a 
change of trains gave us an hour in which 
to make a brief tour of inspection under the 
guidance of a Donaueschingen friend. With 
true German courtesy and good-heartedness she 
had responded to our telegram sent on the 
1 chance,' and arrived breathless at the station, 
laden with all the good things which Donau- 
eschingen can supply, and ready to run herself 
hot and tired in the endeavour to show us as 
much of her native town as our limited time 
allowed. And for almost the first time in our 
rambles we actually ' hustled.' We felt like 
veritable American tourists as we swept at top 
speed through the quiet, well-built streets to the 
so-called source of the great river Danube. 

" Of course it isn't really the source," our 
guide informed us as we stood panting around 
the marble basin. "As a matter of fact the 
Danube is formed from the union of the Breg 
and the Brigach, and this spring, which is drying 
up, by the way, has really nothing to do with 

189 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

it." Nevertheless, she looked up respectfully 
at the marble figures of a woman with a young 
child which decorate the source, and I am sure 
that at the bottom of her heart she shared 
the general opinion that they expressed the 
truth namely, the figure of the woman 
represents the country of the Baar pointing 
to the young source to go forward on its long 
journey to future greatness, and I felt convinced 
that it would break the heart of the good 
Donaueschingen burgher if he really believed 
that the source was no source at all. He pre- 
tends not to believe, just as every self-respecting 
father pretends not to believe in the unexampled 
brilliancy and uniqueness of his only son. 

Having duly admired the sacred source, which 
by now has been beautified at the point of its 
union with the real river by a triumphal monu- 
ment presented to the Fiirst of Fiirstenberg by 
the Kaiser, we were hurried along into further 
wonders. They were explained to us on the road, 
and we obtained among other things a vivid 
account of the disastrous fire which in 1909 burnt 
practically the whole town to the ground. 
Fortunately the princely castle was spared, and 
thanks to the German insurance system no one 
was much damaged except the insurance com- 
panies, and the Donaueschingen of to-day is a 
modern phoenix of pretty houses and well-built 

190 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

streets. In spite of its small dimensions it is the 
aristocrat of the surrounding country, and what 
its inhabitants do not know about court life is not 
worth knowing. The almost constant residence 
of the Fiirst von Fiirstenberg in their midst, and 
the yearly visits of his close friend the Kaiser, 
and all the grandeurs which such great ones of 
the earth bring with them, make the inhabitants 
feel considerably elevated above ordinary mortals, 
and we grew quite respectful as our guide talked 
lightly to us of the recent ball at the castle and 
her dance with the young prince. In fact, these 
great ones lay aside their greatness in these 
secluded regions, and the awe-inspiring Emperor 
is probably least of all awe-inspiring for his 
faithful subjects in Donaueschingen, who welcome 
him regularly when the time comes to shoot the 
' Auerhahn.' The Auerhahn (woodcock) is the 
chief quarry of the Black Forest huntsman, not, 
I think, for the sake of the flesh, which is tough 
in the extreme, nor even for the brilliant black 
plumage, but for the sake of the difficulty which 
the hunt offers. At ordinary times the Auer- 
hahn's extraordinary fine sight and hearing 
make it wholly safe from the attacks of man ; 
only in the midst of its own love-song it loses 
the knowledge of its surroundings, and in the 
height of its amorous ecstasy the huntsman is 
at liberty to take up his position in the closest 

191 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

vicinity without fear of being discovered by his 
prey. Only as the Auerhahn c balgt,' as it is 
called, at two o'clock in the morning the hunt 
still presents sufficient excitement, coloured too 
with the romance which the hour and the ghost- 
like surroundings of the forest bring with them. 

Donaueschingen lies in the heart of the Auer- 
hahn's country, and it is well acquainted not only 
with the Kaiser but with its own particular ruler, 
the Grand Duke of Baden and his wife. Nor are 
these modern royalties the only ones whom Don- 
aueschingen has welcomed. An inscription over 
the Gasthaus zum Lamm informs or informed, 
for I know not if the fire has burnt away the 
writing the passer-by that in 1770 the baker 
Fidelis Schmider was called upon to bake bread 
for Her Majesty Queen Marie Antoinette of 
France, whereupon he built the house, probably 
as a result of his subsequently increased patron- 
age. So one tragic shadow at least has crossed 
the threshold of the modest castle modest, at 
least when one considers the rank and the 
wealth of its present owner. For, apart from 
other matters, the Fiirst of Fiirstenberg possesses 
more of the Black Forest than any other land- 
owner, more even than the Grand Duke himself, 
and his revenues from that source alone are 
considerable. 

All this information was poured out to us 
192 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

during a breathless race it could not be called 
a ramble through the park which is Donau- 
eschingen's chief beauty. The wonderful groups 
of trees, the numerous little lakes and streams, 
above all the strange varieties of exotic birds, 
the hundreds of swans sailing in regal dignity 
on the quiet waters would have held us until 
evening ; but people who are ' doing ' places are 
bound by time, and before we had half realised 
what we had seen we were swept back to the 
station, feeling that we had again left an only 
half-explored paradise. 

" You must come again," our kindly guide 
gasped as she helped us triumphantly into the 
train. " I have ever so much more to show you." 
And then, as the train began to move, she added, 
" I hope you will be able to find rooms in Gutach. 
I have hardly ever heard of the place." At this 
I felt a strange chill of foreboding creep over 
my spirits, but my German friend retained her 
unconquerable optimism. 

" Don't you see that's the whole charm of 
the thing," she explained. "Nobody knows of 
Gutach. We shall have the whole village at 
our feet." The prospect sounded all that could 
be desired, and it was with hopeful eyes that we 
watched the towns of Villingen and St. Georgen 
slip past us. After all, we had arranged to visit 
them from Gutach, where we were to take up a 
N 193 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

lengthier residence in order to enjoy rural 
simplicity and the simple life ! Shortly after 
St. Georgen we passed the little station of Som- 
inerau and plunged into the first and longest 
tunnel in the Black Forest railway. Although it 
does not offer the wonders of one of the Alpine 
railways, the Schwarzwald Bahn is none the less 
a fine engineering feat, deserving more financial 
success than it has obtained. Built in 1873 
by the State at a heavy cost, it has never even 
paid its own working expenses, partly because no 
heavy goods trains can be used on the line, and 
only the traveller has gained benefit from the 
accomplishment of a difficult and expensive task. 
We felt positively grateful to the benevolent 
State who unconsciously, it is true had pre- 
pared such beauties and marvels for us, and it gave 
us a dizzy pleasure to trace our miraculous curl- 
ings in and out, down and round the mountain-side, 
as we descended slowly but steadily to Triberg. 
One or two of the corkscrew tunnels reduced us to 
a state of hopeless bewilderment, changing the 
whole scenery and bringing us eventually out at 
some spot hundreds of feet beneath, from whence 
we could look upwards to the thin, snake-like line 
which, disappearing suddenly and mysteriously 
into the face of the rock, marked our starting- 
point. 

From Somrnerau to Gutach we descended 
194 






THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

1632 feet, and passed through no less than thirty- 
seven tunnels, measuring together over five miles 
in length. The reader may complain at the latter 
feature, but the long incarcerations in the heart 
of the mountain are well paid for by the wonder- 
ful occasional glimpses of wild gorge and distant 
valley. Thus we passed Triberg and the castle 
of Hornberg, and our eyes lingered with a certain 
regret on the fine hotel which looks down on the 
town beneath from the castle heights. We were 
tired, the evening gloom, moreover, was increased 
by the approach of threatening rain-clouds, and 
the uncertainty of our destination began to lose 
something of its original charm. 

" But of course it will be all right," said my 
companion, picking out the names of the different 
Gasthauser from her guide-book with an appear- 
ance of unabated cheerfulness. Alas for rural 
simplicity ! The station of Gutach offered all 
that could be desired in that direction. Its 
simplicity was almost primitive. No porter, no 
carriage (of course), no ticket-collector, nobody 
and nothing save an empty platform ! There 
was no choice we left our luggage to take care 
of itself and set off on a pilgrimage to the village, 
which, for no reason that we could discover, was 
situated half a mile from the station. And then 
it began to rain ! It was pouring in torrents by 
the time we reached the first little inn, and since 

195 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

it appeared very primitive indeed we felt that 
we ought to live up to our professions and ask for 
lodging. I suppose we did look rather doubtful 
characters now that I come to think of it. We 
had no luggage, our clothes were soaked through, 
our faces bore the traces of the thirty-seven tunnels 
it was not surprising that the innkeeper's wife 
looked upon us with grave suspicion. 

"Yes, she had rooms," she admitted, and then 
we drew a sigh of relief; " but they were taken 
ten minutes before by two gentlemen." 

We took to the road again in gloomy silence. 
Somehow we neither of us believed in the 
existence of those two ' gentlemen,' and our 
feelings were hurt. The village was not showing 
the interest and respect which we had expected, 
and our joyful admiration of the verdant valley 
was tinged with bitterness as we reached the 
village itself. Still, there were pretty cottages 
enough, and our spirits revived somewhat as a 
kindly faced woman nodded us a friendly 
greeting from the shelter of her doorway. 
Encouraged by her sympathetic glance our 
condition was by this time wholly pitiable we 
ventured to ask her if she knew of any place 
where we could get rooms. She beamed with 
the hopefulness which people always feel about 
other peoples' difficulties. 

" Ja, ja," she said, " at the Gasthaus zum 
196 



THE HCJLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

Linden there, round the corner and over the 
bridge. All the artist people go there." The 
reference to ' artist people ' left us uncertain as 
to whether we ought to feel flattered or other- 
wise. There are artists and artists, and some- 
how we could not but recognise that our 
appearance was against us. But the ' Linden ' 
enchanted us. Here was a genuine old Black 
Forest inn, with thatched roof, weather-burnt 
wood, quaint gablings, and balconies running 
beneath the eaves a veritable gem of its class 
and situated just opposite the picturesque bridge 
and the village church, for all the world like the 
scene on a picture postcard. 

" At last ! " we exclaimed in one breath, and 
lost no time in hurrying up the narrow wooden 
staircase which led to the entrance of what we 
fondly supposed was our place of refuge. An 
immense burly figure blocked the doorway, and 
somehow our spirits underwent a third fit of 
depression as we looked up into the typical 
peasant's face, clean-shaven, determined, with 
thin, compressed lips and keen, suspicious eyes. 
Unaccustomed as we were to the type, we dis- 
liked the man on the spot. We told him we 
wanted rooms. He looked us up and down. 

" Gibt's nicht," he said. 

" We must have rooms," we repeated, with the 
determination of despair. 

197 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

"Go to the Gasthaus zur Sonne," he advised 
laconically. 

We told him we had already tried there, and 
related the story of the two ' gentlemen.' 

For the first time his features relaxed with 
the flicker of a smile. 

" That was a lie, anyhow," he observed, and 
somehow his manner inferred that he did not 
blame the ' Sonne ' folk for having resorted to 
this method of getting rid of such questionable 
customers. "Anyhow, there is no room here," 
he repeated stonily. 

Now, I do not want to boast of aristocratic 
connections, but my German friend is a woman 
of title and accustomed to be treated with the 
respect and consideration which only a title can 
obtain in the Fatherland, and she literally shook 
the dust or rather mud off her feet. 

" A horrid boor," she said, as we wended our 
way dismally back to the village High Street. 
" How I despise these plebs brutes, all of them !" 
Fortunately our little shoemaker's wife proved 
an exception. We turned to her in a last hope, 
and she took us into her best parlour and 
watched our dripping clothes make rivulets 
along her clean scrubbed floor without a 
murmur. More than that, she sent her husband 
and her children to the right and left, and soon 
we had obtained our hearts' desire the whole 

198 



THE HOLLENTHAL TO GUTACH 

village was congregated around us in good- 
natured interest, but, alas ! not in admiration. 
We felt like a pair of strange and far from 
beautiful birds that had fallen into a nest of 
chattering sparrows, and we had only one wish 
to get away, anywhere, so long as it was from 
rustic simplicity. 

As the tenth messenger arrived with the 
oft-repeated intelligence that Frau So-and-so's 
rooms were taken, we gave up in despair. The 
windows of the Hornberg Castle Hotel sparkled 
like beacons through the growing darkness, and 
with a last spurt of energy we attacked the little 
post office (already closed, for it was long past 
its business hours), and cajoled the good-natured 
post-master into telephoning up to Hornberg. 
I think our knees positively shook whilst we 
awaited the answer, and nothing can express 
our relief as we were informed that two rooms 
were reserved for us and a good dinner awaited 
our consumption. But how were we and our 
luggage to be transported all that distance ? 
Again our friend the shoemaker's wife came to 
our assistance. 

" The host of the Linden has a carriage," she 
told us ; but my German friend's pride rose in 
arms. Nothing, not even the prospect of 
spending the night in the streets, would induce 
her to appeal to the kindness of her deadly 

199 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

enemy. So we sent the poor, patient little 
shoemaker's wife instead. 

Two hours later a curious one-horse shay of 
ancient build drew up at the door of the cheer- 
ful Hornberg Schloss Hotel, and two dripping, 
half-frozen, and very bad-tempered travellers 
slunk through the well-filled lounge into the 
merciful privacy of their rooms. Certainly 
rustic simplicity has its charms, but it must be 
properly managed, and haphazard arrivals are 
better restricted to the large centres. At any 
rate, he who would make his stay at Gutach 
would be wise to make inquiries beforehand, 
unless, of course, he wants to have the whole 
village at his feet as we did. 



200 



CHAPTER XI 
RAMBLES ROUND ABOUT HORNBERG 

OUR awakening on the morning following our 
disordered flight from Gutach rewarded us for 
all previous discomforts and disappointments. 
From our windows, which faced direct north, we 
gazed on the whole broad and beautiful Gutach 
Valley to Gutach itself, with its long, straggling 
village, and beyond to the gently rounded 
mountains, which, with their protecting pine- 
covered heights, seemed to shut off the peaceful 
region from the rest of the noisy, fretting world. 
And as we watched the morning sunlight flood 
over the green fields, and the sparkling, hurrying 
river which flows between them to the cottages, 
half hidden by the forest outskirts, we felt that 
we were to learn to know the Black Forest Spirit 
in a new mood a wholly pastoral and tender 
mood and that the country of wild gorges and 
seething torrents lay far behind us. 

As the day advanced and brought us new 
experience, our conviction that we had done 

201 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

well to make the Hornberg Schloss Hotel our 
quarters, at any rate for the time being, became 
more confirmed. In all our ramblings we had 
rarely found a hotel more beautifully situated 
or more calculated to meet the requirements of 
the traveller who, whilst desirous of moderate 
comfort, flees the haunts of the ordinary tripper. 
The situation, above all, is admirable. The 
Hornberg (1200 feet) juts out over the town 
like a natural fortress guarding the entrance to 
the Gutach Valley, and at its summit part of the 
old ruins of the castle have been replaced by 
the Hotel, which thus enjoys an uninterrupted 
outlook over the town nestling at its feet, and 
over the whole country lying to the north and 
south. It follows, too, that the air is magni- 
ficently pure and fresh, and the peace undis- 
turbed, save for the dreadful occasions when the 
Kur band, composed of twenty yokels armed 
with as many brass instruments, comes to make 
the evening hideous with its distortions of the 
latest popular airs. These occasions are too rare, 
fortunately, to form an objection, and as a com- 
pensation there are the many charming strolls 
from the hotel, which do not necessitate a 
descent into the quiet, old-world town beneath. 
Naturally, our first exploration was to the tower 
of the castle, which marks the actual summit of 
the mountain. A most unromantic penny-in- 

202 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

the-slot arrangement procured us an entrance, 
and from the platform we obtained an uninter- 
rupted view over the surrounding country, but 
our chief interest centred itself on the history of 
the old ruin. Built sometime in the twelfth 
century, it marks one of the chief centres of the 
Keformation movement in the Black Forest. 
The whole of the Gutach Valley community is 
Protestant, and has been so since the days when 
Duke Ulrich of Wiirttemberg put his whole power 
and influence into the service of the new faith. 
If history relates truly, his methods of promoting 
the conversion of his people were not always of 
the gentlest, but at least he obtained his end and 
also lent much-needed protection to the perse- 
cuted leaders of the Keformation. Thus in 1548 
he allowed Johann Brentius, a hunted preacher 
of Luther's doctrine, to find refuge in the Castle 
of Hornberg, which later also served the Princess 
Juliane of Wiirttemberg as a pleasant residence 
during twelve years of her exile. In 1704 the 
castle was destroyed by the Marshall Villars as 
a kind of parting blow before he was compelled 
to evacuate by the army of peasants which had 
come against him, and since then the ruins have 
served for purely ornamental purposes. 

The town itself dates back to the early 
centuries, but little of its ancient walls remain. 
There is nothing to tell of battle, siege, and 

203 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

religious persecution : a sleepy peace lies over 
its one broad street, and the Protestant and 
Catholic churches distinguishable as every- 
where in the Black Forest by their respective 
rounded and pointed-shaped steeples hobnob 
within calling distance of each other. Over the 
bridge to the left, and past the Protestant church, 
we discovered a narrow path which led us along 
the outskirts of the forest to the most charming 
of old cottages, shaded on the one side by fruit 
trees, on the other by the darker green of pine 
and fir. Prosperous fields separated us from 
the river, and every here and there busy peasant 
women with short skirts and gay-coloured hand- 
kerchiefs tied over their heads looked up from 
their work to nod us a pleasant good-day. 

" If only we could see more of the people 
themselves ! " lamented my companion, who by 
this time had forgotten her grievances against 
the ' plebs.' " We outsiders see nothing but 
the hotel-porters and servants. And some of 
these peasants have such interesting faces. One 
would like to see something of their lives and 
ways." 

The Providence who is proverbially supposed 
to look after three classes of people we need 
not go into details seemed to keep a kindly 
eye on our wanderings and an open ear for our 
desires. Quite against our intentions and desires 

204 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

we found ourselves, after an hour's walking along 
the right bank of the river, at the scene of our 
disaster Gutach. Sunshine, blue sky, and 
good temper are wonderful scenery painters. 
The grey, inhospitable ' nest ' of yesterday had 
become a charming, long-drawn-out village with 
gay, white-washed cottages, quaint, picturesque 
mills, and friendly inns all clustering like a 
brood of chickens under the shelter of the simple 
village church, whose spire, rising high above the 
low-built buildings, forms a landmark for all the 
country round. We paused a moment to gaze 
regretfully at the Gasthaus zum Linden ! It 
looked even more attractive than before, and 
only our sense of injured pride prevented us 
from making further inquiries as to future 
accommodation. Perhaps, too, at the bottom of 
our hearts we were rather anxious to show our- 
selves to the suspicious host in all the splendour 
of our ' best clothes ' the humiliation of the 
previous day still rankled. And then my 
German friend was seized with an inspiration 
from the guide-book, as I afterwards discovered, 
but let that pass. 

" There is a well-known Black Forest painter 
here," she told me ; " and I understand that he 
keeps ' open studio ' for anybody who likes to 
look in. Why should we not see what there is 
to be seen ? " 

205 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

The idea had its attractions, and after sundry 
inquiries we found ourselves at the gates of a 
pleasant little house, distinguishable from its 
neighbours only by its more modern architecture. 
There we hesitated. It seemed unwarrantable 
impertinence ; we were total strangers, and the 
sunny quiet of the place rebuked intrusion, but 
courage or presumption, if you will won the 
day, and it was fortunate that it did so, for 
we were greeted with that simple, unaffected 
kindness which belongs to the Teutonic people, 
especially of the south, and for an hour we 
engrossed ourselves in sketch-books and paint- 
ings whilst our host talked of the people he 
knew so well, and listened smilingly to the 
story of our Gutach experiences. 

" The Black Forest folk are very difficult to 
understand," he said at last. " At the bottom 
they are immensely good-hearted and kindly, but 
they are also proud, reserved, and shy of strangers 
not without reason. You have no idea what 
they have to suffer from the rudeness of the 
trippers, who look upon them as so many 
animals dressed up for their amusement. But 
if you get to know them and the best time is 
when there are few strangers about you will 
find them an interesting and fine race. Our 
host of the Linden Herr Linden wirt, as he is 
called is a case in point. If you will come 

206 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

round with me you will learn to know him in a 
new light." We were only too pleased to accept 
this new leadership, and found that our leader 
had spoken the truth, for as he entered the big, 
low-ceilinged ' Gaststube ' the Linden wirt's face 
relaxed into a welcoming smile, which broadened 
as he saw us bringing up the rear. We were 
formally introduced, and shook hands as if the 
contretemps of yesterday had never been. 

"Ja, ja," he said in answer to our inquiries, 
" there is a nice little room empty for next 
Saturday. And there is the opening of the new 
almshouse, with all sorts of festivities that will 

amuse you. Ja, and Herr L " pointing to 

our companion " is exhibiting his pictures. 
Thirty pfennig entrance fee for the benefit of 
the village charities. Many people will come." 

A most excellent dinner, served up under the 
critical eye of Herr Lindenwirt himself, decided 
us, and we parted, on the understanding that 
next Saturday was to witness our arrival and 
participation in the popular festivities. 

"The Herr Lindenwirt (Mr. Host of the 
Linden) is one of the characters of Gutach," our 
new friend told us as he accompanied us a little 
on our way back to Hornberg. " A typical 
Black Forester, he is as cunning as he is honest, 
as good-natured as he is distrustful, and 
as autocratic as a king. He keeps his inn 

207 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

simply for the pleasure of the thing and only 
takes in such guests as satisfy his very particular 
fancy. Yesterday you came without proper 
introduction, and no doubt he suspected you of 
being ' Malweiber ' (lady artists), for whom he 
has no great love ; to-day you have been 
properly introduced, and unless you do any- 
thing to offend him he will treat you as an 
accepted friend of the family. Only you must 
remember that he is your host the money part 
of the transaction means nothing to him, for he 
is one of the biggest landowners about here 
and treat him with the proper respect and 
courtesy. On his side he will treat you as 
his personally invited guests." 

We promised to do our best to follow his 
advice, and with a hearty ( Aufwiedersehen ' and 
repeated thanks, we continued on our way alone, 
well satisfied with the harvest which our daring 
had reaped for us. 

On our return to Hornberg we discovered 
that our much-missed, often-longed-for bicycles 
had arrived, having been sent for after we had 
experienced the virtues of the Black Forest 
roads. At the same time it is only fair to warn 
the traveller that if he bring his bicycle with 
him on his Black Forest travels he must be pre- 
pared to part with it for long periods, and, indeed, 
regard it as a modus operandi for special occasions 

208 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

only. For, indeed, the most beautiful parts of 
the country are closed to the cyclist, and only 
in the valleys, as in Gutach, can he make use of 
his machine. But he who gives himself the 
trouble to work out his route carefully, and does 
not mind entrusting his machine to the tender 
mercies of railway people, will find it an inestim- 
able boon on the long and beautiful descents 
from the mountains and through the open 
valleys, where long distances and unshaded 
roads make the pedestrian's road a hard and 
thankless one. Thus we should have been glad 
to have had our machines through the Alb and 
Wiese valleys, and in Gutach they proved invalu- 
able, but in other parts of the country they can 
be more trouble than they are worth. 

We began our judicious use of our new 
possessions by free-wheeling cautiously from 
our hotel down to the station and once more 
consigning them into the hands of the railway 
porter. The beauty of the scenery from St. 
Georgen down to Triberg had tempted us to 
retrace our steps, and, moreover, there were the 
delights of gliding down smooth and winding 
roads where we had previously been shut up 
in hot and smoky tunnels. Thus, early on the 
morning after our second trip to Gutach found 
us once more at the second highest point of the 
Black Forest railway, at St. Georgen. The 
o 209 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

sunny streets and well-built little houses did 
not suggest a great age or historical past, and 
yet St. Georgen was one of the first places to 
know civilisation. Roman pieces of money and 
the remains of fortifications make it almost 
certain that a Roman high-road once passed that 
way, and after the dark interval, when the great 
Empire had crumbled and no human foot 
ventured up into the solitudes, St. Georgen was 
still the first to hear the sound of the axe and 
the human voice. 

Attracted, perhaps, by the seclusion of the 
place, two noblemen, one a nephew of the Abbot 
of Reichenau, built the monastery of St. Georgen 
in the year 1084, and the Pope having taken the 
building under his special protection, it grew 
and flourished in spite of more than one serious 
outbreak of fire. Then came the iron-handed 
Ulrich of Wiirtemberg, whose work in the 
Gutach Valley we have already mentioned, 
chased out the Catholic priests, replaced them 
by Protestants, and compelled the whole country 
round to accept his faith which they did, 
apparently without much ado, since when the 
pressure was removed they continued in the 
new ways until this day. But the monastery 
fell into a ruined state, and nothing remains but 
an old legend which the Catholic minority tell 
for the benefit of their Protestant neighbours ; 

210 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

namely, the old monastery possessed a bell 
called * Susanna ' which refused to ring for the 
first Protestant service, and on being urged, 
tumbled out of the steeple and rolled down the 
hillside. Not to be outdone, the community 
sent a wagon with ten oxen to bring back the 
refractory ' Susanna,' who, however, refused to 
stir in spite of all persuasion. Thereupon one 
of the oxen drivers lost his temper and 
blasphemously observed that she would have to 
hang in the church whether God liked it or not. 
Immediately oxen, wagon, bell, and drivers con- 
tinued to roll pell-mell downwards until they sank 
into an enormous chasm, from which to this very 
day the believer may hear the ringing of a bell, 
the groaning of men, and the cracking of angry 
whips. As I have said, in spite of Susanna's 
protests, St. Georgen remained Protestant, and 
accordingly the ' Tracht ' affected by the 
inhabitants is marked by Protestant sobriety. 
The more gorgeous dress of the women of the 
Catholic regions is replaced by simple black caps 
and dark-coloured bodices, with only the white 
puff sleeves to relieve the general gravity ; but, 
on the whole, the effect is more pleasing, and 
the comparative inexpensiveness of the costume, 
besides its greater utility, has resulted in the 
Protestant population retaining their ' Tracht ' 
long after the Catholics have sunk to ' modern 

211 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

fashions.' Only the bridal clothes form an 
exception, and a St. Georgen wedding should 
never be missed, if only on account of the 
gorgeous and terrible head-dress which the bride 
has to carry, with all her other troubles, to the 
altar. It consists of an immense turban-shaped 
structure, nearly a foot high, built up out of 
a gaudy assortment of parti-coloured pearls, 
glittering stones, and tinsel. Underneath, the 
long hair is plaited together with red wool, 
and a magnificent gold-embroidered waist-belt 
completes the ' wedding ' part of the bride's 
attire. In most cases the crown is handed 
down from mother to daughter, and in Catholic 
parts, where a similar edifice is customary, it is 
usually left in the keeping of the church ' until 
called for.' 

From St. Georgen, whose comparatively 
up-to-date buildings reminded us that the 
town is a recent one, having been built out of 
the ashes of the old village in the year 1865, 
our road led us up a preliminary hill, from 
whose summit we obtained a pleasant view over 
the surrounding country. That which makes 
St. Georgen an unsuitable spot for a long 
residence its extreme openness and lack of 
shade is atoned for by the extent of the 
panorama. For the town is one of the highest 
in the Black Forest (2424 feet), and its open 

212 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

aspect allows the wanderer an uninterrupted 
view to the Alps a view which we were very 
pleased to admire after the already mentioned 
hill. But from thence onwards our road sank in 
agreeable gradations, so that our exertions until 
we reached Triberg (1600 feet) were of the 
slightest. Naturally we stopped at Triberg for 
dinner, for though we had tried to make ourselves 
independent of guide-books and conventions, 
generally speaking, we were not strong enough 
to resist the influence of hundreds and thousands 
of wanderers who have solemnly declared that 
Triberg is one of the most beautiful spots in the 
whole of the Black Forest. And the feature of 
the place is, of course, the waterfall, which, 
guided by the same influence, we visited as soon 
as the excellent dinner at the Black Forest Hotel 
allowed us to enter upon such exertions. But 
* exertions ' in connection with the Triberger 
waterfall is a misuse of terms. Nothing could 
be more easy, for luxuriously minded visitors 
nothing more delightful, than the ascent at the 
side of the roaring waters ; at every corner a 
bench, or a pavilion, or a photographer ready to 
make you a beautiful picture of yourself and 
your family with a background which would 
make the beholder believe that you had been 
miraculously upheld in the midst of a cataract ; 
and paths with neatly kept banks, calculated 

213 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

to make an English gardener envious -what 
more could this cultivated, civilised generation 
require ? The only trouble is the waterfall, 
which, in company with this refinement and 
order, seems hopelessly out of place. As it 
comes tumbling down from a height of over three 
thousand feet, cascading over seven magnificent 
breaks, it seems to protest furiously against its 
compulsory subjection to the gentler tastes of 
mankind. We felt as we stood and gazed sadly 
at the fourth and finest fall from the portals 
of the would-be rustic pavilion that we were 
looking upon the broken-hearted performance of 
some one-time free and noble forest-spirit which 
mankind had captured and tamed for his amuse- 
ment. And then, in the midst of our reflections, 
strange and wondrous sounds fell on our ear 
uncouth grun tings mingled with melancholy 
wails and squeaks. We looked at each other, 
and then the awful truth dawned on us. It was 
the Kur band again, and we turned and fled. 
civilisation, what crimes are committed in 
thy name ! In truth the Triberger or Fallbach 
waterfall, as it is sometimes called, is ruined by 
the tasteless attentions of people who believe in 
trimming and adorning Nature until she is what 
they consider pretty and ' effective.' Thus, 
what is in reality the finest fall in the Black 
Forest, perhaps even in Germany, is reduced to 

214 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

an object of sad regret. At night-time lime- 
light is thrown on her waters, on specific 
evenings she is illuminated with 'red fire' and 
fireworks, and the roar of her waters is daily 
intermingled with the efforts of the brass band. 
It was all very sad to consider all the sadder 
because Triberg is one of the few places in the 
Black Forest frequented by English people, and 
because, as the hotel-keeper told us, these 
atrocities are performed to suit English taste. 
Be this as it may, the mellifluous tones of the 
band and the prospect of ' Grand Illuminations ' 
failed to fascinate us, and it was with the sense 
of uncharitable relief that we left our fellow- 
creatures behind us and reached the solitudes 
comparative solitudes, at least at the top of the 
fall. Here a wonderful outlook over sunny moor 
and forest comforted our injured feelings ; a 
fresh, invigorating wind helped to blow away a 
last irritation, and we felt that we were once more 
in touch with the untamed, unspoilt Spirit of 
the Forest. A comfortable, quiet-looking hotel, 
not two minutes' walk from the first fall, was 
jotted down in our memory as a place for future 
and lengthier sojourns ; and then, with a last 
glance at the idyllic world about us, we began 
the descent into the valley by the high-road. One 
of the most beautiful walks this, through forest 
and between moss-grown rocks, with sudden, 

215 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

almost magic glimpses of Triberg lying beneath 
in the valley. For the first time we realised 
the significance of the name ' Triberg ' (three 
mountains), for from our superior standpoint we 
could see how the white little town nestled at 
the feet of three closely united mountains the 
Kroneck, the Kapellen, and the Wallfahrt. The 
last is so named from the much-visited Wall- 
fahrtskapelle (Pilgrimage Chapel), whose quaint- 
shaped tower we could just see above the hillside. 
We had already had our attention drawn to the 
chapel's existence by the ' stations ' which have 
been placed along a path over a bridge to the 
right bank of the waterfall. The origin of the 
place is a curious and unusual one. At the end 
of the seventeenth century a regiment of Austrian 
soldiers were stationed in the neighbourhood, 
and in the sighing of the wind through the trees 
the superstitious warriors believed they heard a 
wondrous and angelic song of praise. On in- 
vestigation they discovered a picture of the 
Holy Virgin nailed to a tree the work of some 
grateful soul and came to the natural conclusion 
that the voices had been paying homage to the 
holy figure. Being peculiarly pious-minded, the 
deeply moved soldiers erected a tin covering for 
the picture out of their meagre pay, together 
with a collection -box, which bore the inscription, 
* Maria patrona militium, ora pro nobis ' ; and the 

216 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

future offerings made by pilgrims from far and 
near made it possible for the captain of the 
regiment to lay the foundation stone to the 
present chapel. The pilgrimage is still popular 
amongst the Black Forest folk, but an attempt 
to make it a seat for a Jesuit order was frustrated 
by the Fiirst of Schwarzenberg, who, in 1805, 
abruptly ordered the newly arrived religious 
pioneers out of the country. 

A short walk brought us back into Triberg 
itself, and once more mounted on our iron steeds 
we free-wheeled down the hill, past the station, 
and out into the high-road which leads to 
Hornberg. Beautifully situated as it is, Triberg 
did not recommend itself to us as suitable for 
more than a day's visit. Its very beauty is not 
a little the result of its closed-in situation, and 
the town itself, with its shops, inns, confectioners, 
and hotels, bears a too modern stamp for the 
taste of those who wish to learn to know the 
real Black Forest. I fear I shall be accused of 
a leaning to abuse all * popular ' places, and all 
places where luxuriant and spoilt travellers might 
hope to find their requirements. But I know 
that, with perhaps one or two exceptions, such 
travellers will always be discontented with Black 
Forest hotels ; and the man with simple tastes, 
who comes for pure love of the country, will 
find places like Triberg overcrowded and spoilt 

217 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

by an attempt at gaiety and smartness. In a 
word, they are neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good 
red herring, and disappoint every one save the 
incorrigible tripper. So we had no regrets 
when, after an enjoyable ride down the scarcely 
perceptible decline, our road brought us once 
more to peaceful, old-world Hornberg. The ride, 
or walk, or drive as suits the inclination from 
Triberg to Hornberg is not to be missed, and 
cannot be made up for by a journey with the 
railway, which at this point disappears into the 
face of the mountain. Pastoral meadows alter- 
nate with high cliffs and rocky gorges, and at 
one point where the road leads through a cutting 
in the face of the mountain the wanderer may 
look eastwards to the ruins of the old castle of 
Hornberg. (The castle over the town received 
its name later.) The few disconnected walls 
which remain lie between two jutting points of 
rock, and legend attributes their downfall to the 
wicked doings of the owners and inhabitants. 
It is said that one Christmas Eve the riotous 
and ungodly crew of noblemen and their women- 
folk behaved in such an unseemly manner that 
a stroke of lightning was sent from heaven 
which destroyed them and the scene of their 
evil living at one blow. A pious servant who 
had ventured to warn her wicked masters was 
rewarded for her charity by being compelled to 

218 



RAMBLES ROUND HORNBERG 

wander weeping and wailing about the ruins 
until a kindly youth released her by the three 
prescribed kisses, though what happened to her 
afterwards, history, or rather legend, does not 
relate. With this point of interest the Gutach 
Valley opens out into the broad and pastoral 
country which we have already seen from the 
heights of the Hornberg ; the mountains recede 
on either hand, and the wanderer finds himself, 
as we did on the following Sunday, in one of the 
most beautiful as well as the most, typical homes 
of the Black Forest people. 



219 



CHAPTER XII 

A VILLAGE FfiTE IN GUTACH: PEOPLE 
AND CUSTOMS 

VERY different from our first was our second or 
rather our third arrival in Gutach ; no longer as 
doubtful strangers, but as known and respected 
guests, we made a triumphal entry and dis- 
mounted at the Gasthaus zum Linden with the 
assurance which our new position gave us. 
Very different, too, was our reception at the 
hands of the Herr Lindenwirt and his pleasant 
little wife ! Though he retained something of 
his unbending reserve, there was a decided 
friendliness in his manner and in the half- 
unwilling smile which crossed his broad, clean- 
shaven face as he discussed the programme of 
the next day's festivities. 

" Jawohl, there will be fine doings to-morrow 
if the weather holds," he said, rather as though 
the 'fine doings' did not altogether meet 
with his approval. "You will have to be up 
betimes." 

220 



A VILLAGE FfiTE IN GUTACH 

I think the remark was intended as a fatherly 
hint that we should retire early, for we had 
bicycled down from Hornberg in the late evening, 
and already a half darkness had crept over the 
valley ; but there was such a spirit of unrest in 
the little village that it affected even us out- 
siders, and whilst our host was engaged else- 
where we slipped down the wooden staircase, 
out of the house, over the bridge, and into 
the chief street. It was a wonderful summer's 
evening, cool and yet mild, with a clear sky 
which changed from blue to emerald, and from 
emerald to the softest lilac, deepening at the 
horizon to the purple of the mountains, so that 
sky and mountains seemed but a continuation of 
each other. In spite of the little stream of 
laughing and bustling visitors in whose company 
we walked, there was an inexpressible peace 
over all ; the laughter and movement accorded 
so harmoniously with the surroundings that it 
seemed no more than the distant murmur of the 
river and the chatter of birds, and little as we 
cared for crowds, we felt that to be amongst 
these sturdy-looking people was to come in 
contact with a race which from generations un- 
counted had listened to the Spirit of the Black 
Forest and unconsciously learnt to understand 
her meaning. For, whether they know it or not, 
these villagers were part and parcel of the valley 

221 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

and of the low-lying mountains on whose wooded 
sides so many of them have their lonely home- 
steads. They seemed the human expression of 
Nature as they had known her from childhood 
hardy, weather-beaten, but with fine, regular 
features and a touch of the picturesque in dress 
and manner which did not exclude a conscious 
dignity. We saw more of this dignity on the 
following morning by the ' Kirchgang ' (church 
parade), which interesting spectacle we should 
have missed altogether if we had not been 
aroused from our slumbers by the sound of 
children's voices beneath our window. We 
looked out sleepily, and, lo and behold ! the little 
square which divides the Gasthaus from the 
village church was crowded with the youth of 
Gutach all dressed in their best 'Tracht,' from 
the smallest baby upwards, and carrying flower- 
decked staffs and pretty home-made wreaths. 
The sight of so much life and colour effectually 
aroused us, and by dint of much scrambling we 
managed to creep into the visitors' pew beneath 
the pulpit before the bell had ceased to toll. 
For English eyes the interior of the simple 
white-washed church presented a curious sight. 
On the left-hand side of the aisle were the 
womenfolk, almost without exception in their 
' Tracht,' solemn - faced and immovable. To 
my taste the Gutach dress, both for men and 

222 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

women, is one of the prettiest that the Black 
Forest has to show. The women wear a big, 
broad-brimmed straw hat covered with red or 
black velvet pompons (red or black, according to 
the married or unmarried state of the wearer), a 
richly embroidered bodice, white sleeves, short, 
very full pleated skirts, which allow for a full 
display of unusually small and well-made feet 
and ankles, encased in black shoes and bright 
blue stockings. The hair, which, as with the 
majority of German women, is extraordinarily 
thick and long, is plaited and tied with broad 
ribbon, and a pretty silk apron completes the 
Sanday toilet ; but not to be forgotten is the 
charm of the faces which gaze out solemnly at 
you from beneath the gaily decorated head-dress. 
As we looked from one to another of the women 
who sat to our left I fear the sermon was 
rather lost on us that day we could not but be 
struck by the high percentage of pretty faces. 
Nor was theirs a rough type of beauty. With- 
out being aristocratic the features were finely 
cut and regular, the eyes large and lovely in 
colour, the complexions such as a lady of fashion 
might well envy. Even their figures, usually a 
weak point, were neat and trim, and their 
manners exquisite. Accustomed to English 
village folk we expected to be stared out of 
countenance, but they seemed not to notice that 

223 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

there were straDgers in their midst, and we felt 
as though we were sitting opposite so many 
rows of daintily dressed dolls, so upright, 
motionless, and expressionless did they remain 
throughout the service. 

The men sat to the right of the aisle for the 
most part men belonging to an older generation, 
grey-haired, with lined, clean-shaven faces and 
deep-set eyes and somewhat thin, hard-looking 
mouths. More than the women they bore the 
peculiar stamp and characteristics of their race. 
There was nothing exactly haughty or arrogant 
in their expression, and yet their dignity was 
conscious one felt that, even in church, they 
were holding themselves apart, shutting them- 
selves off from all contact by an iron wall of 
pride and reserve. They looked, indeed, what 
they were, men of position in their own world, 
which for them is the only world men, moreover, 
whose position had belonged to their forefathers 
through long generations. No parvenus these, 
no men of newly acquired wealth and import- 
ance, but aristocrats who would not have felt 
honoured if the Emperor had offered them the 
highest title in the land. And their dress was 
expressive of their mind and attitude. Their 
long, black velvet coats lined with red, their 
red waistcoats, long black trousers, made up 
a costume at once rich and simple. There was 

224 



A VILLAGE F&TE IN GUTACH 

nothing showy or tawdry about them or their 
womenfolk, but one felt that these peasants 
were people to be considered and respected, and 
that they considered and respected themselves. 
Although, as in every little district in Germany, 
Gutach has its own peculiar dialect, the sermon 
was delivered in ' Hochdeutsch ' by a young 
clergyman, who in England would have been 
considered far too good for a small country 
place. But German people are everywhere very 
critical and particular as regards their clergy : 
the stammering curate with his borrowed sermons 
is unknown in their churches, since no ' Pfarrer ' 
is allowed to read his addresses, and a man who 
cannot speak fluently and well finds no place. 
And the Black Forester is no exception ; he 
wants sense connected with a personality, so 
that even in the most remote villages the 
visitor may hope to hear a sermon as good as, 
if not better than many which some unfortunate 
English congregations of importance are com- 
pelled to listen to. 

The whole service lasted an hour, and then, 
amidst the droning of the organ, we allowed 
ourselves to be borne out with the crowd on 
to the little church square. Here a pause was 
made ; the set faces relaxed into pleasant smiles 
of greeting ; there was a general shaking of 
hands and a low, intermittent chorus of * Griiss 
P 225 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Gott ! ' as peasants from the more distant 
' Hofen ' (farms) recognised and greeted each 
other after the week's interlude. But the con- 
versation never rose above a subdued hum, and 
when presently a stalwart country policeman 
appeared, sword clanking, in their midst, a pro- 
found silence fell on the little group of church- 
goers. With severe solemnity the great man 
then began to declaim the various notices of 
importance which concerned the village. In the 
first place, a regiment of Artillery was to be 
quartered in Gutach in the next few days, and 
it behoved each villager to get his house in 
order for the reception of the ' Herren Offizieren' 
and the soldiers, amongst whom, judging from 
the beaming face of an old woman beside me, 
there was at least one Gutach Bauer. Then 
there was to be a sale of wood by auction, and 
other matters which this village newspaper 
thundered out to his respectful listeners with the 
mien of a man who feels acutely the greatness 
and responsibility of his task. This over, the 
crowd of gaily dressed folk began to disperse, 
and we were left standing in the empty square 
feeling a little lost and out of it, as people do 
who have entered into a circle to which they 
do not rightly belong. For though nobody 
had been rude to us or shown by look or word 
that we had trespassed, yet we could not but 

226 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

feel that we were inferior beings townsfolk 
and that, far from having inspired respect, we 
had been looked upon as people whom it is 
kinder to ignore. And then in the midst of 
this depression who should come down upon us, 
like a rescuing ' deus ex machina, 1 but our artist 
friend, accompanied by a lady in Black Forest 

dress, whom he introduced as Frau S , the 

person who could really tell us everything there 
is to be known about the peasants and their 
ways. At the same time he suggested that, 
as there was yet two hours to dinner-time, it 
would be a good idea to explore one of the 
side valleys, unknown to the ordinary traveller, 
and visit the distant c Hofen ' which lie hidden 
in the recesses of the mountains. Glad of such 
good and wise company, we crossed the bridge 
and struck up westwards by a narrow footpath, 
which wound its way pleasantly by the side 
of the Schulzbach, whose sparkling waters come 
tumbling down from the hills to meet the 
mightier Gutach. And again it was a new 
Black Forest which revealed itself to our eyes 
an idyllic country, half meadow, half forest, 
a valley so narrow that it was scarcely more 
than a deep dell, whose verdant green seemed 
almost luminous contrasted with the back- 
ground of pines and firs. And here and there, 
hidden in some unexpected corner, a little farm, 

227 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

or Giitle, as they are called, rose up out of the 
green, and some old peasant woman, left behind 
to prepare the Sunday dinner, nodded us a 
wondering good-day. 

"For the most part there are only small land- 
owners round here," our guide told us as we 
turned to the left and mounted a steep path. 
" We call their cottages and grounds ' Giitle' to 
distinguish them from the big Bauern Hofen, 
one of which latter we shall see later on. Mean- 
while, there is the Fuchs Loch Giitle and the 
Fuchs Loch Bauer/' 

We had now reached the top of the hill 
and discovered a small, picturesque, if rather 
tumbledown, cottage built up against the rising 
ground. A very old man sat sunning himself 
in the porch, but he scarcely seemed to see us, 
and our questions were answered by a little 
bareheaded, barefooted boy who was watching 
over a herd of geese. 

"The Fuchs Loch Bauer is ninety years old 
and very deaf," our guide remarked. " In all 
probability he will never come down into the 
village again, except when he is buried. And, 
indeed, he is no exception a great many of 
these old peasants hardly ever come down into 
the village, or, if they do, look upon the journey 
as a great experience." 

He then told us something of the ordinary 
228 






A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

Black Forest peasant's life a hard, joyless life 
enough judged by our standards, but marked 
throughout by quaint customs, which vary with 
every village. As a rule a child is baptized 
a few days after its birth, but in the interval 
the Gutach folk take special precautions with 
their newborn, it being absolutely for the child's 
well-being that, from the ringing of the evening 
bell till daybreak, a light should burn unin- 
terruptedly at the cradle-side. And then, as 
a special protection against evil, the unchristened 
baby has crusts of bread given it, the boy 
receiving that which is cut from the upper part 
of the loaf, a girl from the lower half. In other 
parts of the country, as in the neighbouring 
Shapach Valley, the ceremonial of baptism is 
accompanied by many and quaint rites. On 
the road down to the church the friendly Hofen 
salute the procession with gunshots a form 
of greeting distinctly royal, if rather disturbing 
for the infant mind and before entering the 
church itself a short prayer is said. As a rule 
in Catholic regions the baby receives the 
name of the saint on whose day it is born, and 
the ceremony of baptism having been performed, 
it is taken by the Gotti (godmother), and 
afterwards by the Gotti (godfather), for a sort 
of processional walk round the altar. Then the 
whole company betakes itself to the nearest 

229 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

inn, where a feast in accordance with the wealth 
and position of the parents has been prepared. 
During the festivity the principal personage 
is laid in the so-called ' Herrgottswinkel' (a 
niche which is to be found in the corner of 
every Black Forest dwelling-room, and which 
usually contains the family Bible hence the 
name), and it has happened that in the general 
merrymaking the unhappy cause has been 
altogether forgotten and eventually left behind 
on the return homewards. However, we will 
suppose that our imaginary baby has survived 
its baptism and the following three weeks, at 
the end of which time the Gotti pays a state 
visit to mother and child, bringing with her 
the customary presents of coffee, sugar, and 
bread, as well as a purse with one new silver 
piece, for the as yet unappreciative infant. At 
Christmas the Gottikleid (godmother's dress) 
is hung on the tree for the new member of the 
family, and with the child's first entry into 
school it receives the so-called Gottihut (hat) 
from its godmother. It very often happens 
that, until that first memorable day, the child 
never sees the face of any other children save 
those of its brothers and sisters ; for the Hofen 
which lie in complete isolation on the mountains 
are like worlds in themselves, and in the long, 
stormy winter months the inhabitants are to 

230 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

all intents and purposes cut off from their 
fellow-creatures. At the age of six, however, 
our particular protege (for interest's sake I have 
made him a boy) makes his first journey down 
into the village and fights his first battles 
with the German language ' as she is spoke ' 
in that particular region. From that hour the 
hard and serious life begins. No matter what the 
weather is, or what dangers from wind and storm 
may threaten, he must twice a day cover the 
sometimes considerable and tedious road which 
divides homestead from village, and all that 
with only the support of the roughest food and 
clothed in the poorest garments. It is a case 
of the survival of the fittest. Consequently, 
if the boy survives these first rough years, he 
is almost certain to develop into a strong, 
hardy man, whereas weak, unhealthy children 
succumb early to the kind but far from healthy 
treatment which is customary amongst the 
Black Forest people. 

At the age of ten the boy is set to work, 
either on his father's Hof or, if he be one of 
many brothers, on some neighbouring farm, 
where he acts as cowherd or stableboy. His 
position is no sinecure. At four o'clock in the 
morning he is already out of bed and helping 
the head man in the stables ; then there is a 
hurried breakfast of broth and dry bread, of 

231 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

which he partakes with the whole family round 
the table by the Herrgottswinkel. A silent 
meal this ! Save for the prayer which precedes 
a general attack on the steaming bowl, no one 
speaks, and there is no sound save the clatter 
of spoons. Knives and forks are unknown to 
the ordinary Black Forest Bauer. His meat 
is cooked together with his soup, and for this 
rough, unchanging menu a wooden spoon is a 
quite sufficient weapon. The meal over, a 
general prayer is said at the open window, and 
our small friend departs with his mixed charge 
of oxen, cows, sheep, and goats. As it is 
summer he goes with the minimum amount of 
clothing without hat or shoes or stockings 
but with a hunk of bread in his pocket, a knife, 
and an enormous turnip -shaped watch, which is 
to tell him when the hour comes to return. 
For in the hot hours of the day the cattle must 
rest either in the stables or in the shade of the 
forest, and, moreover, by twelve o'clock the young 
cowherd must be in the village school with 
what learning he has managed to cram into 
his slow brain in between whiles. It must be 
admitted that his intelligence is of the kind 
that goes slowly but surely. Once he has learnt 
his lesson he is not likely to forget it, but the 
learning represents many a hard trial of patience 
for the much- worried Herr Dorf Lehrer (village 

232 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

schoolmaster). In any case, from the time the 
boy has become an independent worker, school 
matters have to take a secondary place in his 
day's programme. The school must even adapt 
its hour to the convenience of the scholar, and 
in harvest-time the master may be thankful 
if one or two of his more industrious pupils 
make their appearance at the odd times at 
their disposal. Fortunately, the Herr Lehrer is 
usually himself a Black Forester and, knowing 
the hardships of the peasant's life and the value 
of his harvest, is prepared to close an eye at 
such small irregularities. With the winter the 
cowherd's task is at an end, and he receives 
his wages a pair of trousers, a waistcoat, and 
a pair of boots ! and he is free either to engage 
himself further for the rest of the year or to 
go home. We will suppose that he chooses the 
former course, and that, until his fourteenth 
year, he remains a servant at the big Hof where 
he made his first experiences. His fourteenth 
year marks a new period in his life. In the 
first place, his schooldays are over ; in the second, 
he is allowed on Easter Sunday to appear in the 
full glory of his 'Tracht.' From that day he 
must be accounted a man. But his manhood 
brings very little change. There is no great 
advancement possible for him, for high and low, 
rich and poor share the hard work with absolute 

233 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

impartiality, and the young cowherd is to all 
intents and purposes no worse off than his 
master. And so his life promises to be one 
of deadly, stunting monotony, and there is no 
doubt that our friend would become the dullest, 
most ignorant peasant on the earth's surface 
were it not for the one thing which stands 
before him as he approaches his twentieth year 
his two years with the Army. 

All the nonsense which has been talked re- 
specting compulsory service must sink out of 
sight before the wonders which these two years 
perform for the German people especially, 
perhaps, for the Black Forester. Decked with 
ribbons of the national and Badish colours, our 
young cowherd mounts the decorated wagon 
which is to carry him and his companions to 
the station. The village band accompanies him 
amidst encouraging shouts he bids his village 
farewell and makes his first entry into the 
great unknown world. He enters an ignorant, 
uncouth lout, to whom the uses of such things 
as pocket-handkerchiefs, knives, and forks are 
unknown, slovenly, stooping with all the 
physical defects which result almost inevitably 
from his careless upbringing ; he returns a trim 
young soldier, well set up, well fed, well clothed, 
his intellect brightened by contact with the 
world, his whole ' moral ' raised by the two 

234 






A VILLAGE FfiTE IN GUTACH 

years of healthy discipline. Though he ac- 
knowledges that these years were the happiest 
he ever spent, he is none the less glad to return 
to his home and his people. And what stories 
he has to tell of his experiences in the 
manoeuvres, of his first glimpse of his Emperor, 
who deigned to compliment his company on 
its particular smartness ! And how eagerly he 
compares notes with his old father, who had 
served in the regiment through the grand years 
of 1870-72, and whose eyes still gleam when 
he hears that, as then, so to-day, the Army is 
ready to do and die for c Kaiser und Reich ! ' 
So it is as a smart ' Reservist ' that our cowherd 
returns, wearing as sign of his freedom the cap 
of his regiment, and bearing jauntily a walking- 
stick bedecked with ribbons. It speaks well 
for him that, in spite of all he has seen and 
done, he takes his part in the old life with 
unfaltering goodwill. By this time his father 
is too old to bear the brunt of the work, and 
so, as eldest son, he stays at home and prepares 
himself for the unwished-for day when he shall 
enter into full possession. 

The lot of the eldest son in the Black Forest 
is not a happy one ; he is treated as an integral 
part of the estate, and, no matter if he have 
talent or ambition, he is bound for life to the 
Hof to a work which may be wholly distasteful 

235 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

to him. The other sons may go out into the 
world and make their way as many of the 
Black Foresters have done in trade, or even in 
art or literature, but he must remain, submitting 
absolutely to the iron law of custom which is 
handed down from father to son. He is free 
in nothing not even in his marriage. Were 
he a prince his alliance could not be arranged 
with more regard for the * convenances.' It 
may be that his affections are secretly given to 
the daughter of a neighbouring Bauer, but his 
affections and wishes count for nothing against 
the traditions of the family. The girl may be 
honest and good, but she is poor, her father's 
Giitle is heavily mortgaged, and the young 
man's people demand of him that he should 
marry wealth and position. Noblesse oblige ! 
And so one day the young peasant puts on his 
best clothes and drives with his father to the 
Hof of the Gross Bauer whose daughter's dot 
is known to be a considerable one. There is 
very little love-making in the matter, as may 
be supposed. First of all the parents discuss 
the weather, the crops, etc., and then the real 
subject of interest is approached with great 
caution and delicacy. The Gross Bauer pretends 
that the idea of giving away his daughter so 
soon had never occurred to him, and the visitor 
pretends that he simply mentioned it en passant, 

236 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

as it were. Then both sides, amidst much grunt- 
ing and scratching of heads, agree that they 
have no objection to the plan, and the eldest 
daughter is called in. It may be that she is 
both plain and unamiable, but as that merely 
means that the dot will be increased by some 
hundreds of marks, the father of the young 
fellow is rather pleased than otherwise, and the 
young fellow's feelings in the matter do not 
count. Fortunately, very little is expected 
of him. After the girl has shaken hands all 
round and drunk the health of the guests, the 
conversation proceeds about as follows : 

"Na, Madel, we want a Bure (wife) up at 
our Hof. What do you think about it ? " 

" It doesn't concern me," retorts the girl, with 
a toss of her head. 

"Well, we've come all this way to find out, 
and don't want to go home without an answer. 
Speak out would you like it ? " 

" You'd better settle it with father." 

" Settled already. What have you to say ? " 

" I'm willing if Michal is willing." 

Thereupon the young peasant, who hitherto 
has taken no part in the proceedings, is pushed 
forward, and with as much heartiness as he can 
muster, he invites her to visit the Hof on the 
following Sunday, and the matter is settled. The 
next Sunday, as arranged, the girl and her parents 

237 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

arrive in state at the Hof, and whilst the fiance 
conducts her about the house and shows her the 
kitchen which is to be her future domain, the 
parents sit together and discuss the practical 
sides of the case that is to say, the marriage 
settlement. As a rule, the village notary is 
brought in to assist, and the matter is thrashed 
out to a last farthing, for the Black Forester 
is a cunning, hard-headed business man, and 
when two peasants get together it is a case of 
Greek meeting Greek. In the marriage settle- 
ment is included the bride's dowry, the value of 
the Hof which is now to pass into the eldest 
son's hands the share of his sisters and brothers, 
and the amount to be set aside for the retiring 
parents. Lastly, the wedding-day is fixed, and 
by the time the young couple have returned 
from their tour of inspection there is nothing 
left for them to do but to say 'Amen' to the 
arrangements made on their behalf. The next 
matter is the sending out of invitations. 
Although a public notice is usually put in the 
papers, it is customary to send a woman Ladfrau, 
or invitation woman from Hof to Hof, and as 
she is always paid for the bringing of the invita- 
tion by presents of food, it often happens that 
a poor couple does the inviting in person so 
as to reap the reward. The invitation, which is 
spoken, not written, runs as follows : 

238 



A VILLAGE F&TE IN GUTACH 

" On Monday week you are politely requested 
to attend the marriage of the- -Michal [the 
surname or name of the Hof comes first] and 
the - - Marie. The church is at ten o'clock, and 
afterwards comes a visit to the inn. If we can 
help you in any way we shall always be glad to 
do so, whether it be in joy or sorrow but let it 
be rather in joy." 

The charm of the little formula lies in the 
dialect, with its quaint turns and abbreviations ; 
but since the Black Forest dialect is sometimes 
not to be understood by the Germans themselves, 
I must fain translate into plain English. 

A few days before the wedding the old couple 
make their solemn exit from the Hof, taking 
with them their other children and such posses- 
sions as they have reserved for themselves by 
the settlement. An adjoining house on the 
estate the so-called ' Libtighus ' has been pre- 
pared for their reception, and this formal sur- 
render of the reins into the younger' s hands is 
looked upon as a right and natural course of 
events. As soon as the new master has entered 
into possession he has the old Hof scoured from 
top to bottom, in order that everything shall be 
in perfect condition by the time the bride's 
trousseau arrives. The trousseau is naturally 
an enormous affair and, save for the manner of 
its arrival, differs little from that of a town girl 

239 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

with well-to-do parents. A fine new Leiter- 
wagen (we have already encountered one of 
these vehicles in Boll), drawn by four much- 
beribboned horses, is packed with all the bride's 
possessions, even to the marriage bed, which 
crowns the whole grand collection in all the 
splendour of its bright red covering. 

On the eve of the wedding - day comes the 
' Tschapphirsch,' an unpronounceable ceremony, 
which is to all intents and purposes the bride's 
farewell to her home. The relations and friends 
of both contracting parties are invited, and the 
chief part of the meal is composed of a not 
particularly appetising dish of pottage, to which 
is attached a nosegay. If the bridegroom is 
able to get hold of the flowers unhindered and 
unobserved, he is supposed to have won the 
mastery in his new home life, and on his having 
successfully performed the feat, the bride is 
presented by her mother and friends with 
mottoes suitable for the occasion. The festivities 
last until midnight, and as they begin again at 
break of day, there is not much rest for the 
inmates of either Hofen. Naturally, the whole 
village takes part in the rejoicings. Already 
with the rising of the sun the young people 
begin to stream up to the respective homes of 
the bride and bridegroom, where wine and cake 
are to be had in unlimited quantities. Then 

240 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

come the relations and friends, the village 
musicians, the Militarverein (military union a 
a kind of association for all soldiers of the 
Keserve, which is found in every village and 
town in Germany, and to which our young 
peasant naturally belongs). In fact, everybody 
who is anybody makes an appearance and is 
adorned with bright ribbons and nosegays. 
Then, after a short prayer has been said, the 
procession is got into order. First goes a young 
cowherd, staggering under an enormous may 
tree, then come the bridegroom's old military 
comrades with drum and waving flags, then the 
musicians, playing a wedding-march with all 
the energy at their disposal, and, lastly, the 
much -plagued bridegroom and the whole of his 
mighty clan. Thus they reach the village, 
where a pause is made, since the bride, with 
feminine unpunctuality, has not yet put in an 
appearance. Nothing is prettier than the scene 
in a village street on such a peasant's wedding- 
day. The profusion of flowers and gay ribbons, 
the picturesque costumes, and the pretty, laugh- 
ing faces of the womenfolk make a picture to 
which the beauty of forest and mountain makes 
a fitting background. At last the listeners hear 
the sound of distant music, and soon afterwards, 
amidst cries of welcome, the bride's procession 
turns the corner of the street. She has had far 
Q 241 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

to come, so that this time the procession is a 
mounted one. One Leiterwagen after another 
draws up with its cargo of guests, relations, and 
musicians, and whilst the bride, who has been 
helped to alight by her future husband, runs 
into a neighbouring house to adorn herself in 
the 'Tracht' of his people (the costly dress is 
one of his wedding presents to her), the pro- 
cession orders itself anew. Again it is the cow- 
herd with the may tree who leads the way, first 
to the town hall, where the civil ceremony is 
gone through, and then to the church. The 
marriage service over, the bride with her 
bridesmaids opens the so-called ' Opfergang ' 
round the altar, the men follow, and thus the 
crowded church empties itself out into the sun- 
lit street, and the serious part of the great day 
is over. The newly married couple make their 
first visit to the clergyman, who congratulates 
them and in return receives an invitation to the 
feast together with a bouquet from the bride. 
Then the whole party adjourns to the chosen 
Gasthaus, where the merrymaking begins. The 
bride and bridegroom open the dance, and from 
that moment all form and ceremony disappear. 
Flower-sellers, women with cakes and various 
dainties wander in and out amongst the guests, 
who ' pay their way ' and amuse themselves 
after their own fashion until midnight strikes, 

242 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

and the bride and bridegroom return to their 
home on the mountains. 

Thus a wedding in the Black Forest is neither 
a small nor inexpensive affair, and though each 
district has its own peculiarities, the above 
method of procedure is fairly typical. In 
Gutach it is customary that the bridegroom 
should ' buy ' the bride from the escort which 
brings her down to the church, and the young 
men who surround her make a hard bargain out 
of the business, so that the harassed bridegroom 
may think himself lucky if he gets off with no 
worse damages than a barrel or two of beer. 

Not less ceremonious is the funeral, and since 
our Michal is a purely imaginary person, I hope 
I shall not be considered heartless if I hasten 
over his married happiness and endow him with 
a fatal illness. As soon as his condition is 
known, prayers are offered up daily by nine 
or ten boys and girls, deputed for the purpose, 
who afterwards receive presents as a reward for 
their efforts. Supposing the latter to have been 
in vain, the parish priest orders the special 
prayers to be said, and all the bells in the village 
are tolled, whilst relations and friends gather 
together in the house of mourning to pray and 
to wish the bereaved ' luck in sorrow ' a curious 
expression of consolation which may be taken 
as an allusion to the departed's future life, or 

243 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

to the saying that sorrows never come singly 
in other words, as a wish that no more sorrow 
may follow. Then the same people who usually 
carry round the wedding invitations visit the 
various neighbouring Hofen and request the 
pleasure of the Bauern and their families' attend- 
ance at the funeral and the subsequent dinner, 
at the same time accepting the customary 
presents with as woebegone a mien as possible 
under the circumstances. A short time before 
the actual funeral the coffin is carried outside 
the house and surrounded by burning candles, 
the relations say a last prayer, and then four 
men belonging to the family raise the coffin on 
their shoulders, and the melancholy, loudly 
lamenting procession starts on its way down 
to the village. The actual service differs little 
from the usual ceremony, save that in some 
parts of the country, as in Gutach, it is customary 
for the masculine relations to keep on their 
hats in church as a sign of mourning, and after- 
wards tastes differ as to holding or not holding 
of the ' Leichenschmaus ' (corpse feast, literally 
translated). In sober, Protestant Gutach the 
mourners retire quietly to their homes, but 
elsewhere, I believe, the subsequent merry- 
making strongly recalls an Irish wake, tempered, 
no doubt, with a little German sentiment. At 
one v time Shapach had an unpleasant custom 

244 




{Ry permission of Adolf Ronz, Stuttgart. 
COMING HACK FROM CHURCH, GUTACH. 



A VILLAGE FftTE IN GUTACH 

of burying its dead without coffins. The village 
possessed a state coffin, which served for each 
dead person until his burial, when he was 
unceremoniously * turned out ' into his grave, 
covered with an old cloth, and buried without 
any further to-do. However, the State inter- 
fered, and now the good Shapachers are com- 
pelled to provide separate coffins a piece of 
extravagance to which they at first strongly 
objected. 

It would take volumes to describe the many 
and quaint customs to which the Black Forest 
Bauer still clings, for, as has been already said, 
each district has its own ways, and much depends 
on the predominating religion. Only one or 
two customs are common to most parts, such 
as the daily prayer at the open window, the 
origin of which practice is supposed to date 
from a time when the plague ravaged the whole 
country. The fear of infection made each Hof 
shut itself against its neighbour, and only the 
loud praying at the windows told that the 
inmates were still alive. Another explanation 
is that the devil and evil spirits have no power 
over the land so far as the sound of the praying 
is heard ; but, whatever the reason, the custom is 
very general. 

Much of all this information we gained on 
our walk through the peaceful Loch (Loch 

245 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

signifies hole, or small side valley), and by the 
time we had reached our destination, the 
Schlangenbauers' Hof, we felt that we already 
knew something of its inmates, and were eager 
to see them and their home from a more intimate 
standpoint. Fortunately, our two friends were 
well known, and our reception in the low-built 
dwelling-room was of a most cordial character. 
It was already dinner-time, but immediately the 
whole family rose to greet us and expressed 
their willingness to show the ' Fremden Damen ' 
everything that there was to be seen, though 
the old father expressed his opinion that " surely 
in England the cottages were much finer." 

Rather curious was the intelligent interest 
which the younger members took in my country 
and its affairs generally. There were three 
grown-up sons, fine-looking fellows in shirt 
sleeves, who apparently disdained the use of 
boots and stockings, but their manner would 
have put many superior people to shame. They 
were neither awkward nor shy, and, though 
respectful, they behaved with the certain 
indefinable ease and dignity which, nowhere 
in the world more than in the Black Forest, 
accompanies birth and breeding. For the 
Schlangenbauer was a man of importance ; his 
Hof, one of the finest and most picturesque in 
the whole country round, had been in the family 

246 



A VILLAGE FftTE IN GUTACH 

for generations, and in wealth perhaps even 
in ancestry he probably outdid us all and 
probably he knew it. But not for a moment 
were we allowed to feel that as townsfolk 
without landed property we were on an inferior 
social rung. At our request we were at once 
introduced to the various points of interest 
in the dwelling-room, as always, a square-built 
apartment occupying a whole corner of the house. 
Except in size and in atmosphere the Black 
Forest Hofen differ very little from each other, 
though their degrees of picturesqueness vary 
with their age. The greater number have only 
a ' ground floor,' but elevated so far from the 
ground that a quite considerable flight of wooden 
steps must be mounted before the visitor finds 
himself in the dwelling-room the only room, 
sometimes, which deserves the name. The 
interior is simple in the extreme, and I cannot 
do better than take the Schlangenbauers' home 
as an example. In the far corner, between the 
two square-paned windows, was the Herrgotts- 
winkel with the family Bible and the ' library,' 
consisting of a few black-bound books ; a rough 
but well-scoured table occupied a place by the 
wall ; and a few chairs, together with an enormous 
green porcelain stove, completed the furniture. 
The stove was certainly the most important 
feature ; it occupied the whole of one corner and 

247 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

was surrounded by a wooden bench, which, we 
were told, was the favourite sitting accommoda- 
tion in the long and bitterly cold winter 
evenings. 

" It does one good to put one's back against 
it after a long day's work," one of the sons 
observed, patting it affectionately ; but I caught 

a faint pucker on Frau S 's face which told 

volumes. 

"You don't know what the atmosphere is 
like here in winter," she said in English, as 
we examined the military photographs which 
adorned the wooden walls. " The windows are 
tight shut, and the smoke is appalling. There 
are no chimneys, and when you add tobacco 
qualms to everything else, it is hardly possible 
to believe that a human being can breath in 
such air." 

She then took us out into the passage, 
and pointed out the curious fact that in the 
whole building there was not a single nail or 
piece of iron. Everything was wood, and in 
places the riveting looked so loose and unsolid 
that it seemed as though the first storm would 
bring it crashing down. We expressed our 
doubts, but Frau S shook her head. 

" A stone house could not be stronger, and 
the loose building is intentional. As there are 
no chimneys, there must be some outlet left for 

248 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

the smoke, which goes wandering about the 
house until it finds a cranny left for its escape." 

" And what about fire ? " we suggested 
dubiously. 

Our companion shrugged her shoulders. 

" When a fire does break out the place is 
lost," she admitted, " and the saddest part is 
that the cottages are never built up again in 
their original form. The peasants care nothing 
for the beauty of their homes and infinitely 
prefer the modern style, so that they are quite 
glad when a fire does break out." A rather 
suggestive smile broke over her face. " The 
Fire Insurance Companies are not fond of this 
department," she added, "and inquire very 
closely into the various cases. For, in spite 
of the apparent danger, it is not so easy for one 
of these cottages to catch fire. Look at this." 

o 

She pointed to the ceiling of the kitchen, which 
we had just entered. " Everything is so thickly 
covered with hardened soot that the place is 
almost fireproof. If you try to break off a piece 
of this black stuff, you will find that it is as 
hard as iron." 

We tried, and repressed a shudder at the thought 
of the ages of smoke-laden atmosphere which must 
have been necessary to have attained such a result. 

" But the Black Forest people have the 
finest smoked hams in the world," our painter 

249 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

observed, with a friendly glance at the hooks 
hanging from the blackened ceiling. " You 
have no idea how good they taste after they 
have been left up there for a winter." 

Frau S shook her head disapprovingly. 

"The people pay for it with their lives very 
often," she said. " In spite of the wonderful 
climate, consumption is rife amongst the 
peasantry, and one of the chief causes is the 
atmosphere they live in. They have no idea 
of hygiene and, like most country people, have 
a strong objection to fresh air. But now come 
and look at the Tenne ! " 

The Tenne, or Heuboden, proved to be an 
enormous hayloft, whose existence we should 
never have expected from the front part of the 
cottage. Like all Black Forest Hofen the 
Schlangenbauers' home was built on rising 
ground, so that, whereas the front aspect was 
a comparatively large one, there was nothing 
to be seen from the back but the slanting 
thatched roof and the yawning entrance to 
the Heuboden. A rough track led up from 
the high-road, so that it was possible for a whole 
wagonful of hay to be driven into the loft and 
left there for the winter, if need be. 

" In elegant houses, such as the Burger- 
meister's, they use the Heuboden for dancing," 
we were told, and since the loft covers the 

250 



A VILLAGE FETE IN GUTACH 

whole area of the house, we could well believe 
that it made an admirable ballroom. 

From the Heuboden we were then taken to 
inspect the baking-oven a tiny brick erection 
outside the house but the pleasant smell of 
new bread reminded us that our own dinner- 
hour was at hand, and that the Gutach festivities 
were still before us. So we bade our amiable 
hosts farewell, and with many backward glances 
at the picturesque Hof, with its moss-grown 
roof and wooden beams and balconies dyed to 
a rich brown by wind and sunshine, we made 
our way homewards, satisfied that, if the Black 
Forest homesteads were the most lovely in the 
world to look on from the outside, the inside 
left much to be desired. No doubt everything 
was scrupulously clean and orderly, but our lungs 
were still full of the smoke and our eyes 
tingled uncomfortably, and a bright idea we 
had once fostered of taking a ' charming Black 
Forest cottage for next summer ' died a natural 

death. On our way home wards Frau S pointed 

out to us the Hofen which lay half hidden amongst 
the trees and gave us their various names. 

"It is customary for the peasants to call 
themselves after their Hofen," she said. " Thus 
there is the Kotbauer, which simply means the 
peasant from the Rothof. His real name is 
quite different. I know them all," she added, 

251 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

with a merry laugh. "When I want eggs, as 
I do every day, I have to go from Hof to Hof 
and coax the people to sell me one or two. 
You have no idea how rare eggs and such 
things are in this part of the world." 

By this time we had reached Gutach, and 
there parted company until the reunion at the 
Gemeindehaus in the afternoon. It was indeed 
a fete-day in the village. Everybody turned 
up in their best clothes even the Schlangen- 
bauer was there in all the glory of his red-lined 
velvet coat (I hope I shall not be considered 
boastful if I mention that he shook hands with 
us cordially) and visitors poured in from Horn- 
berg to see the exhibition of pictures by the 
two well-known Black Forest painters. 

Amongst some of the sketches we discovered 
a delightful pen-and-ink portrait of the Linden- 
wirth, but the artist looked more alarmed than 
pleased at our congratulations. 

" It was mad of me to exhibit it," he said in 
a whisper. " I forgot to ask the Linden wirth's 
permission, and I hear he is terribly angry with 
me. It may be weeks before I am taken back 
into favour." 

And, as a matter of fact, at that moment a 
burly figure loomed up in the doorway, and 
the culprit took to flight without so much as 
a 'good-day.' However, perhaps the copiously 

252 



A VILLAGE FfiTE IN GUTACH 

flowing beer and the general atmosphere of 
healthy gaiety helped to soothe him, for 
presently I heard him accepting the humbly 
tendered apologies with a gracious magnanimity. 
And it must have been a hardened heart that 
could have retained its bitterness on such an 
afternoon. 

First there was a fairy play, acted and sung 
by the children under the stage management 
of a pretty schoolmistress in the Gutach 
* Tracht ' ; and then came dancing on the green, 
climbing the greasy pole, sack-races, and all 
the other harmless amusements which go to 
make up a village fete. And the biggest part 
of all was played by the sun, who graciously 
condescended to shine cloudless from the 
moment of her rising to the hour when the 
gay crowd wandered homewards, making 
charming faces still more charming and lending 
forest and meadow a richer, brighter green. 
But let no one suppose that Frau Sonne's dis- 
appearance behind the mountains marked the 
close of the festivities. By the time we reached 
our Gasthaus the dining-room was already 
crowded, and no sooner was dinner over than 
chairs and tables vanished as though by magic, 
and old and young responded to the strains of 
the latest Gutach waltz (the * Blue Danube/ I 
believe), as performed on the Lindenwirth's 

253 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

piano by an obliging guest. We remained 
spectators, for the Black Forest waltz is a 
peculiar thing. The masculine partner puts 
both arms round the lady's waist, and the 
following proceedings resemble the lurchings 
of a ship in a heavy sea rather than a waltz. 
But apparently those concerned enjoyed them- 
selves, and that, after all, was the chief thing. 
Only the Herr Linden wirth stood apart and 
watched the gaily dressed peasants rotate 
around him with a benignancy that was not 
unmixed with disapproval. 

" Much work they will do to-morrow ! " he 
remarked to us, as we stole away to the quiet 
of our own rooms. But, alas ! the quiet was 
only comparative, for the morning hours were 
well advanced before the hubbub of music and 
laughter died away in the distance, and we were 
compelled to admit not altogether in the best 
of tempers that the Black Forester has a good 
share of German thoroughness especially in 
the matter of amusing himself. 



254 



CHAPTER XIII 

OVER RIPPOLDSAU AND THE KNIEBIS 
TO BADEN-BADEN 

EARLY the next morning we bade our friends 
in Gutacli farewell, and with a last glance at 
our luggage, which we were not to see again for 
many days, we mounted our bicycles and rode in 
high spirits out of the apparently sleeping village. 

" Positively, I believe we are the only people 
awake ! " my German friend remarked, with the 
Pharisaical pride of the early riser. " How 
can people stay in bed on such a lovely 
morning ! I suppose the good folk have not 
got over the effects of last night." 

On the outskirts of the village we found that 
at least one person was awake and on foot 

besides our energetic selves. Frau S , still 

dressed in her dainty * Tracht,' awaited us at 
the crossing and presented us with a welcome 
gift of the most delicious peaches, gathered, as 
she told us, from her own walls. 

"They will help you over the dusty road," 
255 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

she said. "You have a hot day before you, 
and I think you would have been wiser if you 
had done as the villagers do and got the worst 
part of your day's work over before ten o'clock." 

" The villagers," said my friend, with dignity, 
" are not so much as awake even." 

Frau S laughed her laugh of superior 

wisdom. 

"I warrant you there is not an able-bodied 
man or woman or child who was not up and 
about hours ago," she said " only they are 
not in the village. You will see them at work 
in the fields. The Black Forester is no idler." 

Her prophecy verified itself, for as we left 
G-utach behind us and wheeled our way leisurely 
along the smooth and level road, we saw to 
the right and left of us the bowed figures of the 
workers, who looked up as we passed them to 
exchange a friendly ' Tag.' From their flushed 
faces we judged that already many hours of 
work lay behind them, and our self-satisfaction 
dwindled. Men and women toiled side by side, 
and as we saw how the latter bore their share 
we no longer wondered at the few middle-agec 
women we had seen in our wanderings. T< 
all appearances there are no middle-aged womei 
There are children, whose beauty, especially 
and about Gutach, makes them a positive feature 

of the place, and there are charming, rosy-cheeked 

256 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

girls, but from the moment that she marries 
the Black Forest woman loses both youth and 
beauty. Child-bearing, coupled with the in- 
evitable toil in the fields, does its work, and the 
pretty, fresh-complexioned girl shrivels in a few 
years to a bent and haggard old woman. I have 
said the field-work is inevitable, and, indeed, it 
is so ; for though some of the peasants have 
amassed considerable wealth it has only been at 
the price of unrelenting labour, in which every 
one has taken his share, and, moreover, for one 
' Grossbauer ' there are dozens of day-labourers 
who have to fight unremittingly for their ex- 
istence. In this fight the wife bears her part 
as a matter of course, and without complaint. 
She teaches her children to watch over each 
other whilst she works with her husband in the 
fields, and as soon as they have the strength 
they too join in the general activity. As Frau 

S said, the Black Forester is no idler, and 

the price which he pays for the right to live 
is a heavy one. In the summer there are the 
fields to tend, and in autumn and winter comes 
the dangerous wood-cutting on the high moun- 
tains. How dangerous the latter occupation is 
may be judged by the fact that the cost of a 
tree bought on the mountain is less than half 
that of the same tree in the valley. And it is 
not strange that it should be so, for its headlong 

R 257 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

course down the narrow frozen cuttings, or later 
in the year on the breast of some swollen torrent, 
represents an ever-constant and inevitable danger 
for the hardy wood-feller. But the Black 
Forester is something more than a mere 
labourer, he is also an artist with deft fingers 
and an eye for colour, as the pretty pottery and 
the handsome carved clocks testify. Show me 
the traveller who has successfully wandered 
through the Black Forest without collecting 
cuckoo clocks of all sizes and dimensions, or 
the South German whose house does not echo 
hourly with the plaintive voice of a make- 
believe cuckoo ! Personally, I confess to a 
hopeless weakness for these quaint and most 
reliable timepieces. There is something about 
them so simple, honest, and homely that I think 
they must have absorbed something of the 
spirit of their makers who laboured at them 
in the long winter evenings on the mountains. 
Their tick is the most soothing sound in the 
world, and when they do go wrong, which is 
seldom, there is always the satisfaction that 
one can go plunging about their works with 
amateurish zeal without inflicting irremediable 
damage. 

But to return to our travels. As the reader 
will have judged by a previous remark concern- 
ing our luggage, we had once more yielded to 

258 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

the deceitful fascinations of the knapsack, and, 
forgetful of our painful experiences on the 
Feldberg, had loaded our backs with sufficient 
necessities for a three days' genuine ramble. 
For we were now entering on the North Black 
Forest, and in our wanderings over the heights 
of the Kniebis and the Hornisgrinde there was 
no railway to help us, and even our bicycles 
were destined to be left to the mercies of the 
Rippoldsau hotel porter. It was a case of a 
long stretch of strict pedestrianism, and, thanks 
to the optimism which comes with sunshine and 
fresh morning air, we faced the prospect with 
all good courage. 

In the meantime our road through the broad 
and lovely valley left nothing to be desired. 
Peaceful villages, cheerful meadows, and 
picturesque Hofen greeted us on our level way, 
and every now and again a passing peasant 
woman in her workaday Tracht brought us 
and our cameras into a state of mild excitement. 
For it is a delicate matter, this photographing 
of the peasant folk. They are shy, suspicious, 
and proud, and we had long since arranged a 
small comedy which gave us an opportunity 
without wounding their feelings namely, as 
soon as we caught sight of an interesting 
' subject ' coming in our direction, we dis- 
mounted, one of us posed gracefully at the side 

259 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

of the road, and whilst our victim passed by 
with the soothing conviction that we were 
engaged in making ' souvenirs ' of each other 
the wicked deed was done. At first we were 
uneasy as to the ' fairness ' of the proceedings, 
but photographers are notoriously conscienceless, 
and since all great people must submit to the 
impertinences of the kodak fiend I hope our 
Black Forest friends will forgive us if they 
ever find us out, which is hardly likely. 

With these welcome interruptions we passed 
Hausach and Wolfach, and hailed, not without 
disappointment, the first signs that we were 
approaching the great Kippoldsau Bad, the most 
popular of all the Kniebis watering-places. The 
signs were, indeed, such that we were glad that 
our plans only allowed for dinner and a few 
hours' rest before we proceeded on foot to the 
Kniebis itself. Heavily laden motor-cars, luggage- 
wagons, and well-dressed folk leisurely strolling 
back to their table d'hote dinners met us on 
the road, and long before we dismounted at the 
doors of the Kurhaus Hotel we were prepared 
for another St. Blasien. But Eippoldsau proved 
less of a disappointment than we had at first 
feared. In spite of the bazaars and the baths 
and the Kur guests lounging about in hammocks 
and long chairs in every corner, in spite of the 
objectionable motor-cars which every two hours 

260 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

came up with fresh visitors from Wolfach, in 
spite of the general air of rather tawdry 
smartness, Rippoldsau remains one of the most 
beautiful spots in the Northern Black Forest. 
At the foot of the great Kniebis, it is surrounded 
by pine-covered mountains whose grandeur is 
yet softened by an idyllic peace and loveliness. 
There are no wild gorges and rocky valleys here ; 
it is a world to itself, closed in and almost 
mysterious, as though it lay under some fairy 
charm, and all the unpleasant additions, such 
as human beings and motor-cars, appear very 
much in the light of gnomes and goblins who 
have intruded into a country of fair, invisible 
spirits. Unfortunately in the summer the 
gnomes have decidedly the upper hand. They 
crowd out all poesie and charm, and beautiful 
Rippoldsau, with its healing waters, becomes 
a rather stuffy and overcrowded popular resort 
for the well-to-do middle-class a very middle 
class sometimes, be it said with regret. But 
in late spring and early summer the Black 
Forest has no lovelier spot to show, and, with 
the exceptions of Badenweiler and Baden-Baden, 
no finer hotels. 

The new Sommerau Hotel, situated a little 
above the village, though not large, can stand 
comparison, as far as luxury and tastefulness 
of decoration are concerned, with any hotel in 

261 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Europe ; and though the prices are higher than 
is usual in the Black Forest, yet the visitor has 
at least the satisfaction of knowing that he is 
getting something for his money. The mineral 
baths are highly valued by the medical faculty, 
and thus quite early in the year Kippoldsau 
opens its doors to those seeking quiet and 
health in peaceful, sheltered surroundings. 
Already in the fifteenth century the efficacy 
of the waters was known and valued, but as 
usual in the more remote parts of the Black 
Forest a monastery was the first building to be 
erected, and although it suffered with the rest 
of Rippoldsau when, in 1643, it was attacked by 
the Swedes, it still exists in a modernised form 
and serves the village as church as well as a 
( Sehenswiirdigkeit,' as the German guide-books 
say. But the heat of midday and the midday 
heat in Rippoldsau can be almost tropical- 
prevented us from paying the historical spot a 
visit, and four o'clock saw us already attacking 
the ascent of the Kniebis. Bien entendu our 
bicycles had been sent to join our luggage at 
Wolfach, and our well-filled knapsacks were all 
that was left us ; but by the time we had reached 
our destination we found that even they were 
more than we liked. Still, it would be un- 
grateful to complain, for the walk to the 
highest point of the Kniebis, the Alexander- 

262 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

schanze, in the cool of the summer's evening, 
remains in our memory as one of the most 
beautiful of all our rambles. The Kniebis, 
though it needs 600 feet to make it the equal 
of the Hornisgrinde, is none the less the most 
important mountain range of the Northern 
Black Forest, and forms a kind of watershed 
between north and south. The Hornisgrinde, 
in spite of its more pretentious aspect, is no 
more than an outrunner of the massive Kniebis, 
whose geological character has made it, from the 
Roman ages onwards, a great pass between the 
Rhine and Neckar Valley. Cut on either side by 
deep valleys and ravines, the Kniebis represents 
a broad comb of moorland, almost entirely free 
from the wild, impenetrable forest growth which 
in ancient days made the traversing of the 
mountains a dangerous, almost impossible task. 
Yet an actual Roman high-road does not seem 
to have existed, and to this very day the Kniebis 
is one of the least populated mountains. The 
terrific storms which threaten it in winter and 
the unfertile nature of the soil are indeed 
sufficient reasons for the latter fact, and to 
make up for the deficiency, if deficiency it be, 
the Kniebis bears proof enough of its importance 
as a strategical pass in the three great entrench- 
ments which defend its summit. We came 
upon the first of these, the Alexanderschanze, 

263 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

after two hours' walking, and a comfortable inn 
offering us accommodation, we decided to spend 
a night in the refreshing cool of the mountains, 
doubly grateful after the heat of the valley. 
On our way we had passed the one important 
colony of which the Kniebis can boast, a village 
bearing the same name but of comparatively 
recent origin, having been founded somewhere 
at the beginning of the nineteenth century. To 
this day the inhabitants have retained something 
of their original patriarchal character ; they form 
one family and speak a dialect which has no 
resemblance to that of the valleys beneath, and 
if an old chronicle speaks truth of them their 
ancestors, though of a good-natured and simple 
character, were not noted for their respect for the 
rights of property. By this time, however, this 
unfortunate weakness has no doubt passed away, 
and if one may judge from appearances the in- 
habitants may be wholly trusted with the life 
and property of the travellers who seek lodging 
in their midst. For our part, we had wandered 
farther simply because the beauty of the evening 
tempted us to greater pedestrian efforts, and 
not at all because of the probably libellous in- 
sinuations of an irresponsible old chronicler. 
For the rest, the straggling village offers an 
example of the divided religious and political 
state which is rather characteristic of the Black 

264 




RIPPOLDSAU, ANOTHER VIEW. 



R1PPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

Forest, one half being Badish and Catholic 
and the other half Wurttembergisch and Pro- 
testant ; but the times of strife are past, and 
the two confessions appear to agree admirably 
together. 

After a comfortable night spent in the 
Gasthaus zur Alexanderschanze we spent the 
first half-hour of the morning inspecting the 
remains of the entrenchments which in 1734 
were erected by the Duke Alexander of Wiirt- 
temberg against the inroads of the French armies. 
Altogether, like so many other mountains of the 
Black Forest, the Kniebis has seen stormy times, 
and after half an hour's walking over the open 
moorland we came across the second remains of 
warlike days. The Schwaben, or Koschen- 
schanzen, as the entrenchments are called, were 
built in 1769 by a Major Kosch of the Wtirt- 
tembergischen army as a barrier across the path 
of the French soldiers crossing the mountain 
from the Renchthal. Unfortunately a traitorous 
peasant betrayed a secret pass to the enemy, and 
the defenders, taken by surprise, were driven out 
at the point of the bayonet. 

Two minutes' walk farther on brought us 
to the ruins of a third place of defence, the 
Schwedenschanzen, but their origin is veiled 
in mystery. It is supposed that they date from 
the Thirty Years' War, and were built by the 

26=; 



RAMBLES IN THE BLAC1 FOREST 

same Swedes who afterwards became the terror 
of Kippoldsau, and hence the name ' Schweden ' 
was given to them ; but of the entrenchments, 
as well as of their history, little remains. From 
these last ruins our road lay through a stretch 
of uninterrupted loneliness, but never for a 
moment were we left in doubt as to the 
correctness of our route. At every turn we 
were met by multitudinous signposts which 
sternly directed us to the ' right road,' and 
though well provided with maps and guide- 
books we found that we had no need of them. 
Thus, gradually descending, we left the open 
heights of the Kniebis behind us and plunged 
into the cool shadow of the Forest. Already the 
peculiar charm of these northern regions was 
beginning to creep over us ; there is, indeed, 
a scarcely describable ' something ' about the 
Northern Black Forest which makes the 
traveller, who has heard so much concerning 
the superiority of the south, wonder where the 
critics had their eyes and critical faculties. The 
explanation is, no doubt, that the area of the 
Northern Black Forest is smaller, and the really 
beautiful region limited to the eastern confines 
with the Kniebis and the Hornisgrinde. The 
valleys which lie westwards, though charming 
in their peaceful way, have nothing to offer in 
comparison with the valleys of the south. They 

266 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

lack grandeur and also the marked characteristics 
lent them by their inhabitants. In the north 
the ' Trachten ' have almost entirely disap- 
peared, the picturesque thatched cottages have 
given place to bricks and mortar, and people and 
villages have sunk to the dead level of uniformity 
which is the penalty .of modern civilisation. But 
in such places as Allerheiligen, where our three 
hours' wandering brought us, the magic beauty 
of the Black Forest finds its final, perhaps its 
most perfect, expression. The moderate-sized 
Gasthaus is ^he only dwelling for miles around ; 
it lies high up on the mountain-side in a kind 
of dell, so closed in by the surrounding pine- 
covered summits that the wanderer feels he 
must be in the heart of a valley, yet blown 
with such fresh and invigorating air that the 
heat and depression which he has brought with 
him from the lowlands passes as though touched 
by some health-giving magician's wand. It 
seemed to us, as we stood on the path which 
winds its way downwards to the hotel, that the 
green of the pines and firs was richer and deeper 
than anywhere else : the very air, in spite of the 
midday sun, was full of the vigour of spring, an 
eternal youth seemed to breathe out of the silence, 
broken only by the thunder of the distant water- 
fall, and the ruins lying close to the hotel forgot 
their age and took on an appearance of being 

267 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

simply an architectural addition to the young 
world about them. Perhaps on account of a 
direct disregard of a heavenly sign, the old 
monastery was noted for its misfortunes. In 
1196, the year in which the Countess Uta von 
Calw determined to lay the first stone, a donkey, 
laden with the gold which was to pay for the 
building, struck a certain rock with its hoof 
and immediately a spring made its appearance, 
proving beyond doubt that this was the spot 
chosen by heaven for the site of the monastery. 
If the wanderer doubts this story he need only 
follow a narrow pathway leading westwards 
from the monastery garden, and he will find 
the spring itself called the c Eselsbrunnen '- 
with an inscription which should put his un- 
belief to shame. 

Unfortunately the spirit of doubt seems also 
to have possessed the Countess, for with womanly 
determination or obstinacy, as her masculine 
critics would say she clung to the site she had 
chosen, in defiance of all signs and wonders, so 
of course the monastery fared badly. It was 
more than once burned to the ground, its abbots 
were expelled, imprisoned, and occasionally 
murdered, until at last in 1803 it was finally 
suspended. Even then the angry heavens were 
not satisfied, for no sooner had the monks taken 
their departure than a stroke of lightning 

268 




ALLEKHEILIGEX. 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

reduced the building to its present state of 
ruin, and since then it has only served as an 
ornament for the surrounding country. Still, 
we cannot blame the good Countess, for her 
choice of site could scarcely have been bettered, 
and the donkey's action must be regarded as the 
result of a contrary and contradictory spirit. 
For it is not alone the peaceful surrounding 
forest which makes Allerheiligen famous and 
beloved ; there is the waterfall surely the most 
perfect and the most worthy of its reputation of all 
the many rivals which the Black Forest has to 
show. This is no tamed and decorated waterfall 
decked out to suit the taste of the tasteless. From 
a height of over three hundred feet the silver 
waters of the Grindenbach pour down through the 
narrow cleft in the mountain, foaming over seven 
falls, each of which has its own particular character 
and beauty. The path at its side, though safe 
and easy, shares the general appearance of rugged 
grandeur ; it leads between mighty rocks, some- 
times over the falls themselves, and nothing is 
more lovely than the view from one of these 
daringly constructed bridges, directly beneath 
the white volume of hurrying water, and in 
front a sudden opening out of the landscape, a 
wonderful glimpse of the distant world which 
in Allerheiligen the traveller seems to have 
left for ever behind him. Many strange, half- 

269 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

historical, half-legendary stories are told of the 
rocks over which the Grindenbach seeks its way 
to the valley, and many of them have received 
a name in accordance with their past. Two of 
the names, the ' Eabennest ' (the Ravens' Nest) 
and the ' Zigeunerhohle ' (Gipsies' Cave), are 
linked together. The latter place, a dark, in- 
hospitable-looking hole in the rock, once sheltered 
a troop of gipsies, one of whom, a beautiful girl, 
excited the love and admiration of a scholar at 
the monastery, a certain youth of the name of 
Lucas. As a sign of his devotion, the young 
man presented her with a ring which was 
supposed to bring luck to the owner so long 
as it remained in his keeping, but whose loss 
heralded dire misfortune. And, alas ! one day 
as the gipsy maiden was preparing herself for 
a meeting with her lover, she foolishly laid the 
precious jewel aside, and a raven, attracted 
by the glitter, seized upon it and bore it to 
its nest on the precipice above the waterfall. 
The lamentations of the young girl determined 
Lucas to a daring attempt to recover the ring, 
and aided by two companions he let himself 
down by a rope into the depths, whither the 
raven had taken its plunder. Swinging peril- 
ously backwards and forwards, he was about to 
snatch the jewel from the nest, when, to the horror 
of the onlookers, the rope snapped and his body 

270 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

fell, crashing from rock to rock, down into the 
torrent beneath. From that moment the place 
became an object of suspicious dread, and at 
nights the scream of the unhappy gipsy girl can 
still be heard above the hoarse cry of the raven 
as it flies upwards from its nest among the rocks. 
Altogether it is a curious fact, and perhaps it 
testifies to the extraordinary romantic beauty 
of the Northern Black Forest, that the regions 
north of the Kniebis team with legends, whereas 
the south can boast of but few, and those only 
of a scanty nature. It would take a volume to 
relate even the most important, and I restrict 
myself to those which concern the places of our 
wanderings. 

Thus the day following saw us on our way 
to the so-called ' Edelfrauengrab ' (Grave of the 
Noblewoman), which forms part of the Gottschlag 
waterfall. A very modest little waterfall this, 
scarcely more than a stream, whose course lies 
over a few boulders, but wholly charming, and 
best suited to the valley through which it winds 
its way. At first following the broad high-road 
behind Allerheiligen, we obeyed the behests of 
the signposts and entered upon a narrow path 
which led down to the left and in easy curves 
descended to the valley. There we discovered 
the Gottschlagbach and its waterfall the latter 
needed some discovering but it was some time 

271 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

before we could make up our minds which of 
the many likely-looking places marked the spot 
where the unfortunate noblewoman had been 
put to death. My companion settled on six 
successive spots which were beyond all doubt 
* it ' ; but at length a deep cave, in which the 
waters of the fall churned themselves into a 
white fury before continuing on their way, put 
all former pretenders in the background. This 
was unquestionably the c grave,' and whilst I 
endeavoured to take photographs from the 
grassy mound opposite, my friend, to make good 
former errors of judgment, related the true and 
exact story of the Frau von Bosenstein. This 
lady, the wife of the Lord of Bosenstein, whose 
castle once guarded a neighbouring height, was 
noted for her love of luxury, but above all for 
her hard-heartedness and cruelty towards the 
peasants on her land. Thus, one day during a 
grand feast a poor woman came to the gates of 
the castle and begged for food for herself and 
her starving children. The Frau von Bosenstein 
answered her with the remark that poor folk 
should do without families, and refused her the 
slightest assistance. The desperate woman there- 
upon raised her hand in malediction. " I go," 
she is reported to have said, " but God will 
surely punish you, and I pray to Him that He 
may curse you with seven children at one birth ! " 

272 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

The guests laughed the angry beggar to scorn, 
but shortly afterwards her prayer was answered, 
and the Frau von Bosenstein gave birth to seven 
healthy sons. Her anger and the dread of the 
mockery of her friends may be imagined, and 
since her husband was absent, she determined 
to rid herself secretly of at least six of the 
unwished offspring. Accordingly she gave them 
into the hands of an old woman, with the order 
that she should drown them in the stream below 
the castle. The servant was about to obey her 
mistress's command when she was startled by 
the arrival of Herr von Bosenstein himself, and 
in her endeavour to hide the babies in her apron 
she drew his surprised attention on herself, and 
he approached her with the request that she 
should tell him what she was concealing. 

" Young puppies, sir," she answered, trembling. 
Whereupon the suspicious knight tore open her 
apron and discovering the children forced her to 
a confession. With the promise that if she kept 
silence he would spare her life, he took the 
babies from her and distributed them among the 
good people of the village, and for seven years 
his wicked wife lived in the belief that her deed 
had passed undiscovered and unpunished. But 
the day of retribution was to dawn. On the 
anniversary of his dread discovery, Herr von 
Bosenstein called an assembly of friends, and 
s 273 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

during the feast he asked his wife what punish- 
ment she would assign to a woman who wilfully 
had brought about the death of her own children. 
The unsuspecting woman answered that she 
would have her buried alive with a loaf of bread 
and a pitcher of water ; and no sooner had she 
spoken her judgment than the door of the 
hall was thrown open and six young boys 
entered and made their obeisance. 

"These are the children whom you would 
have murdered seven years ago ! " thundered 
the enraged knight. " You have pronounced 
your own sentence." And heedless of her tears 
and entreaties, the unfeeling mother was con- 
ducted to the cave by the waterfall, and with 
the consolation of a crucifix, a loaf of bread, 
and a pitcher of water, there incarcerated to 
await a lonely and terrible death. The story, 
which reminded me a little of a certain well- 
known fairy tale, is proved not only by the 
ghost of the unrepentant Edelfrau, which haunts 
the scene of her execution, but by the curious 
recurrence of the name ' Hund ' (dog) amongst 
the people of the district, who are supposed 
to be "the descendants of the six children. In 
spite of its ghostly and unpleasant history, the 
Edelfrauengrab is a lovely spot overshadowed 
with green foliage, and, with its clear stream 
and miniature waterfall, a pleasant resting-place 

274 



R1PPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

for the wanderer ere he retraces his steps along 
the gravel pathway which leads up into the 
mountains. For those seeking the valley and 
the railway Ottenhofen lies half an hour's 
walk away, but our intention being to cross 
the Hornisgrinde to Baden-Baden we returned 
the way we had come until we once more 
attained the high-road, when, turning north- 
wards, we reached Ruhstein after a two hours' 
walk. 

Of all places in the Northern Black Forest 
the Ruhstein is the loneliest, perhaps on that 
account the most beautiful. As its name testi- 
fies, it is no more than a small rocky plateau, 
situated in the heart of the forest, five miles 
from anywhere, with one solitary Gasthaus to 
mark the spot and offer the weary traveller 
food and lodging. Here we took up our 
quarters for the night, for the climb from 
Edelfrauengrab had been more than we had 
anticipated, and, moreover, the deep peace of 
the surroundings tempted us. We were now 
on the frontier between Wiirttemberg and Baden, 
and two brightly painted posts, bearing the 
arms of the two states, marked the invisible 
border line. Ruhstein belongs by a hair- 
breadth, so to speak to Baden, which state, 
indeed (with the exception of Wildbad and 
Herrenalb), possesses all the beautiful parts of 

275 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the Black Forest, and is famous both as a winter 
and as a summer resort. Unpretentious but 
comfortable, the hotel offers everything that 
can be desired by moderate travellers including 
moderate prices and the nature of the sur- 
rounding country makes it an admirable spot 
for a lengthy stay. The land is wholly un- 
cultivated, and the rambler is thus free to 
wander where he will, as free and unhindered 
as though the whole country belonged to him. 
In bad weather there are the long, level 
high-roads, which, even after the worst spells, 
remain passable ; on overclouded days there 
are lovely stretches of open moorland, and 
when the sun deigns to shine the forest paths 
open their cool shade in every direction which 
the traveller may fancy. Like all Black Forest 
resorts, the Gasthaus is often overcrowded in 
the high season ; but here the loneliness is so 
extreme, the forest-land so wide and sweeping, 
that the guests seem to lose themselves in 
its depths, and the feeling of being suffocated 
by one's fellow - creatures, as is the case in 
St. Blasien and Bippoldsau, is wholly absent. 
But though Kuhstein offered so many tempta- 
tions, we were too much under the influence 
of our knapsacks and their limited though 
heavy contents to linger, and the next day 
we started northwards for the summit of the 

276 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

Hornisgrinde, the highest mountain of the 
Northern Black Forest (3498 feet). 

From our starting-point already 2748 feet 
the ascent was easy, and after twenty-five 
minutes we caught sight of the dark Wildsee 
lying beneath us like a sombre eye gleaming 
out of the forest. Unlike the Feldsee, no 
mighty precipices rise up around its edge, but 
it has none the less a gloomy fascination of 
its own, and we needed no one to tell us of the 
water-nymphs who in past times tempted infatu- 
ated shepherds to their destruction in the black, 
unfathomable waters. Virgin forests grow up 
to the water's edge, no woodman's axe ever 
rings in the profound silence : as throughout 
the ages so now the Wildsee lies in the midst 
of its jungle world, undisturbed and over- 
shadowed by its impenetrable mystery. Few 
wanderers ever descend to the water's edge, 
and we, too, contented ourselves with the view 
from the road above before continuing slowly 
on our way to the next and best known lake 
of the Northern Black Forest the Mummelsee. 
An hour and a half's walk brought us in sight 
of the Hornisgrinde Tower, and already a fine 
view over the Rhine Valley, with the Strassburg 
Cathedral and the distant Vosges, rewarded us 
for our pains. But the much-prized Mummelsee 
disappointed us. No district in the Black Forest 

277 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

boasts of as many legends, and, indeed, in past 
ages, when the forest around knew neither tourist 
nor hotel-keeper, one can well imagine that the 
solemn shadows stirred the imagination of the 
huntsman whose prey led him to the water's 
edge, or of the adventurous shepherd tempted 
by stories of beautiful nymphs and fairies. 
' Mummel ' is supposed to be the name of the 
' vermummten ' (disguised) spirit which haunts 
the neighbourhood, and whose daughters, the 
' Mlimmelchen ' dwell in the depths of the 
waters. From the stories that are told of them 
they seem to have been as tender-hearted as 
they were beautiful, and unlike most of their 
race to have loved passionately and faithfully. 
But, alasj their father, the stern old water-spirit, 
could be unrelenting in his severity, and one 
fair nymph, having so far forgotten his behests 
as to linger after midnight with her human 
lover, was torn away from him, and only a 
bloody stain on the face of the lake showed 
where she had met her punishment. The 
knight, who had honourably intended to wed 
his mysterious water-bride, shared the fate of 
an unhappy shepherd lad. The latter had 
ventured to call his nymph by name, and 
instantly a terrific storm broke over the lake, 
bloodstains rose to the surface, and the lady 
was never seen again. Presumably the old 

278 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

1 Mummel ' had heard the amorous callings and 
had inflicted the death - penalty on his dis- 
obedient daughter. At any rate the shepherd, 
like his knightly predecessor, went mad with 
grief and hid himself as a hermit near the 
waterfall in Allerheiligen, speaking to no man 
and forgotten by the world. 

Other similar stories are told of the water's 
inhabitants, but for many years the nymphs 
have remained in their undiscovered hiding- 
places, and one cannot altogether blame them. 
The modern tourist is scarcely calculated to 
awaken tenderness in the hearts of lovely water- 
spirits, accustomed to the homage of gorgeous 
knights and picturesque shepherd lads, and 
even if a Lohengrin made his appearance, I 
doubt if they would ever sufficiently overcome 
their disgust at the absurd boats and canoes 
which adorn (?) the lake, to rise to greet him. 
In a word, the Mummelsee suffers from its 
popularity. The whole charm must have once 
lain in its mystery and solitude, but rowing- 
boats, signposts, hotels, and the general va- 
et-vient have robbed it of all that, and the 
lake has not the majesty of the Feldsee to 
raise it above the degrading influence of 
admirers. Still, it is ungrateful to rail at 
the existence of the hotel (Gasthaus zum 
Mummelsee), for without the accommodation 

279 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

our visit to the Hornisgrinde from the Ruh- 
stein would have been beset with discomforts. 
As it was, we could cast aside our burdens, 
and, with the prospect of a good night's rest 
before starting on our long march to Hundseck, 
allow ourselves the pleasure of a leisurely survey 
of the Hornisgrinde from its summit. A good 
half-hour's somewhat stiff climbing brought us 
to the four-cornered tower which marks the 
highest point of the mountain, and from thence 
we obtained an extended view over the Rhine 
Valley to the west, and to the east over an uninter- 
rupted, monotonous stretch of forest. The name 
Hornisgrinde is derived from two words 'Hornis' 
and ' Grinde,' but only the latter can be safely 
traced back to its origin. In old German it was 
a somewhat contemptuous term for ' head,' and 
it is presumed that ' Hornis ' means ' horn,' and 
the adjective certainly suits well enough to be 
accepted. For nearly an hour's walk the bald, 
rocky mountain ridge stretches from north to 
south, falling abruptly to the west in steep, 
scantily covered cliffs, to the east in more gradual 
slopes. The extreme barrenness of the Hornis- 
grinde is due, not to its height, but to the 
marshy character of its formation, which permits 
only a rough growth of turf, and wild, sometimes 
rare and interesting, flowers. Here and there a 
block of sandstone recalls its original covering, 

280 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

and from its geological, as well as from its 
botanical standpoint, the Hornisgrinde is per- 
haps the most interesting mountain of the Black 
Forest. But it marks the beginning of that 
region which has laid the Black Forest open to 
the charge of being monotonous and depressing. 
Never without a certain charm, the road north- 
wards lacks, nevertheless, the variety of the 
south. Endless forests of pine and fir lie behind 
and before, and though pleasant enough we 
found our seven hours' tramp over the Hornis- 
grinde to the hotel at Hundseck somewhat long 
and tedious. 

Since the road is a very lonely one we 
had made ourselves entirely independent of 
wayside inns by taking our provender with 
us, thereby considerably adding to our load. 
This additional burden quickly disappeared, 
however, and thanks to occasional rests at 
such points where a gap in the wall of pine 
allowed us a free view of the valley, we reached 
Hundseck by way of the Mannheimer Strasse, 
over the Riesen and Hochkopf, in very fair 
condition. Unfortunately we had again to 
suffer for our habit of leaving our arrival 
unannounced, and in the already overcrowded 
hotel had to content ourselves with what 
accommodation a worried but still affable host 
managed to procure for us. Altogether we 

281 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

were compelled to write Hundseck down as 
one of those places better avoided in the high 
season. It lies too close to Karlsruhe, Mannheim, 
and Frankfurt not to be overrun with towns- 
folk seeking a cheap, not too distant summer 
resort. The air is good, the hotel comfortable 
in an unpretentious way, and Baden-Baden is 
easily attained by means of the dangerous- 
looking motor-cars, whose descent by the steep, 
sharply curving road must be the last thing 
in hair-raising excitements for the closely 
packed inmates. Altogether Hundseck is too 
popular. It is impossible to lose sight of the 
guests for more than five minutes at a time, 
and the unfortunate seeker after rest and peace 
finds himself constantly stumbling over one 
of the uncountable crowd of children who are 
* up for the holidays.' Added to all this is 
the fact that in the high summer Hundseck 
and its surroundings are somewhat monotonous, 
and in spite of the beautiful pine forest and 
the lovely glimpse over the Rhine Valley 
the visitor soon wearies. In late summer, or 
late spring, or even in winter, when the serving- 
girls are less overworked (no genuine Black 
Forest hotel boasts of waiters, and I have found 
that, on the whole, girls are quicker, less over- 
bearing, less conscious of their superiority, and 
more obliging), Hundseck is an agreeable health 

282 




GEROLDSAU WATERFALL. 



RIPPOLDSAU TO BADEN-BADEN 

resort, especially for those who have not time 
to penetrate deeper. The same criticism can 
be applied to the neighbouring Sand and 
Plattig, which lie on the high-road to Baden- 
Baden at about half an hour's distance from 
each other; but the traveller, having got so 
far, is advised to seek quarters at the highest 
situated of the three, namely, Hundseck, and 
if he come at the right time of the year he 
will not be disappointed, either in the kindly 
welcome of his host or in the peace of his sur- 
roundings. But for us the season was already 
too far advanced, and having decided that if 
we had to have a crowd we would rather have 
a smart one, we packed up our goods and 
chattels, and early the next morning started 
downhill for Baden-Baden via Sand, Plattig, 
the Geroldsauer Waterfall, and lastly the justly 
famous, but for weary limbs rather lengthy 
Lichtenthaler Allee. The walk is thoroughly 
worth the exertion, and a good if rather ex- 
pensive meal at the little restaurant by the 
waterfall makes a pleasant break before the 
pedestrian starts on the more wearying walk 
through the valley. At any rate, the tour on 
foot has the advantage of being perfectly safe, 
which is more than can be said of the motor 
service, and at our weariest moments we felt 
no envy for the heated, nervous-looking inmates 

283 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

of the car as it went grinding and groaning 
round the scarcely negotiable curves. Tired, 
but entirely pleased with our long wanderings, 
and smugly self-satisfied at our prowess, we 
reached Baden-Baden, and at the quiet but 
comfortable hotel, Hirsch, reclaimed our luggage 
with the heartfelt joy which only those can feel 
who have existed for days on the contents of 
a lady's knapsack ! 



284 



CHAPTER XIV 
BADEN-BADEN AND SURROUNDINGS 

WE were in the right mood for Baden-Baden, 
for at the bottom of our hearts we are both 
town children, loving the life and colour and 
brilliancy of the great world. Many days had 
passed since we had bidden Baden weiler fare- 
well. Though the long, solitary rambles through 
the forests and over the mountains remained 
a lovely, unforgettable memory, we could not 
but feel delight as, once more clothed in 
comparatively fashionable garb, we wandered 
about the streets of the town, breathing again, 
as it were, our natural air. ' The Queen of 
watering-places ! ' Objectionable term, suggest- 
ing trippers, and all the thereto connected 
horrors of cheap hotels, cheap amusements and 
excursions ! And yet Baden-Baden deserves 
the title, given with all due respect and 
solemnity, as no other place in Germany, nay, 
in Europe, deserves it. Where else in the 
world is to be found so much true elegance, 

285 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

refinement, so much true, light-hearted amuse- 
ment so closely linked with the most lovely 
world that Dame Nature ever created in a 
tender mood ! No doubt it is a frivolous 
place this Baden-Baden. On s' amuse from 
early morn till late at night there is nothing 
else to do. Frivolity, gaiety of the lightest, 
frothiest kind impregnates the very air with 
a sweet, sorrow-numbing perfume, and even the 
saddest, even those who have come to seek 
lost health in the healing waters, soon throw 
aside sorrow and pain and take their share 
of life with the rest. Yet it is the most 
peaceful place in the world. The gaiety is so 
quiet, so masked with the reserve of those to 
whom pleasure is the natural element, that the 
most sensitive never realises in what a whirl 
of distractions he is living. There is none 
of the vulgar ' look-at-me-how-I-am-enjoying- 
myself pleasure-seeking of such places as St. 
Blasien and Rippoldsau. Here the richest and 
most cultured of all the great nations meet and 
vie with each other, but without noise, without 
commotion. One wanders through the lovely 
Lichtenthaler All^e with the feeling that one 
has been transported into a magic world where 
everything ugly has been exterminated, even to 
the vice of an exaggerated, ostentatious luxury. 
Bien entendu there are exceptions, and short 

286 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

periods when the exceptions are rife, as in the 
great race week in August ; but the visitor in 
June or early July will find nothing to offend 
his taste, and, moreover, he will be spared the 
heat which towards August becomes almost 
suffocating. Perhaps it is the temperature 
which conduces to the idle, pleasure-seeking 
mood that comes over one as soon as Baden- 
Baden comes in sight. I only know that, 
whereas we arrived full of good and energetic 
resolutions, we quickly added ourselves to the 
great majority which spends the morning in a 
lazy stroll through the Forest, the afternoon 
in the Kurgarten, listening to the band, and 
the evening at an excellent Operetta theatre, 
with a delicate supper on the verandah of the 
Kurgarten restaurant. I know it is a dis- 
graceful confession I know that as professed 
ramblers we should have stuck to our knap- 
sacks and thick boots with pharisaically uplifted 
noses, turned our backs on so much irresponsi- 
bility, and returned to Nature's bosom. Only, 
alas ! (this ' alas ' is wholly hypocritical, I fear) 
Nature seems to be in league with the worldly 
spirit which haunts Baden-Baden and leads 
sturdy ramblers from the right path. Imagine 
yourself, critical and disapproving reader, seated 
comfortably at a table decked with flowers, a 
dainty supper a la franpaise before you, around 

287 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

you at other similar tables a bevy of beauti- 
fully dressed women with equally elegant 
cavaliers, before you the brightly lit Kurgarten, 
a soft evening air perfumed with flowers brush- 
ing your face, in your ears the strains of distant 
music, and straight before you, outlined against 
the dying red of the evening sky, pine-covered 
mountains, the stately ruins of a once mighty 
castle. And when you have succeeded in 
realising the magic of this combination of 
natural and artificial charms, you are at liberty 
to condemn us for our idleness if you can. 
For our part, in defiance of all previous plans, 
we let ourselves drift, and thanked the good 
Roman Emperor Hadrian for his discovery of 
the hot springs and for the subsequent build- 
ing of the ' Civitas Aurelia aquensis/ as Baden- 
Baden was then called. Sharing the fate of 
Badenweiler, Baden-Baden fell into neglect as 
soon as the Roman Empire passed away, and 
though with the building of the two castles 
by the Markgrafen of Baden it recovered 
something of its original importance, a final 
blow delivered by the devastating armies of 
the French -in 1689 threatened to effectually 
cut short its existence. It is a curious irony 
of fate that it is chiefly owing to the French 
that Baden-Baden rose to the position of the 
World's first watering-place, and though after 

288 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

1870 the number of French visitors sank to nil, 
the tide of patriotic feeling was not strong 
enough to resist the temptation, and to-day the 
French language is heard as often as German 
in the streets of Baden-Baden during the 
high season. 

It goes without saying that the municipality 
have done everything that was possible to add 
to the comfort and pleasure of the visitors. 
Their means were extensive, as until 1872 the 
gambling tables were in their hands and the 
returns, of course, enormous. As soon as they 
had collected sufficient money to arrange other 
distractions, they remembered that gambling 
is a wicked vice, and the tables were done 
away with, to the distress of the hotel-keepers, 
who believed that Baden-Baden's days were 
numbered. Their prophecies proved mistaken, 
fortunately, for, though a certain class remained 
away, others came, and the loss of the former 
was not altogether to be regretted. 

In Baden-Baden boredom is banished ; no 
matter what you are or who you are, you are 
sure to find something to amuse you. If you 
are a sportsman, there are the beautifully kept 
tennis courts, there is archery and fishing ; if you 
are musical, there are excellent concerts morning, 
noon, and night, with the occasional appearance 
of some such operatic star as Caruso to break 
T 280 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

the monotony ; and if merely an invalid, there 
are baths, springs, ' Trinkhallen ' for every 
imaginable complaint, with every imaginable 
amusement to pass the ' in-between-time ' agree- 
ably. Being neither particularly fashionable 
nor sporting, and with no claims to the title of 
invalids, we felt rather like foreigners in a strange 
land outsiders who, nevertheless, managed to 
enjoy themselves thoroughly in a shamelessly 
unfashionable way. And here let it be observed, 
for those who feel themselves frightened by 
fine descriptions, that Baden-Baden is by no 
means an expensive place, except for those who 
wish to make it so. It is quite true that one 
or two of the hotels demand prices which would 
make even Vienna blush ; but no one is com- 
pelled to stay at them, and there are numbers 
of smaller places which offer comfort, if not 
fashion, at most reasonable rates. Nor are the 
amusements in the least exorbitant, though 
the visitor with limited means should avoid 
driving in the tempting-looking carriages which 
promenade the Lichtenthaler All^e. On account 
of the steep hills which surround Baden-Baden 
it is forbidden for a carriage to be drawn by 
less than two horses, and with this fact for an 
excuse the drivers demand equally ' steep ' 
fares. The excuse may be justified, but it puts 
such extravagances out of the reach of ordinary 

290 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

folk, and one experience taught us that our 
future rambles unless we wished to return 
prematurely home would have to be performed 
strictly on foot. 

In obedience to the law of custom, and also, 
perhaps, because it was the least exhausting of 
all the regulation ' tours,' we first turned our 
attention to the ruins of the Old Castle which 
overlooks the town. On the way upwards we 
passed the New Castle, so called only to dis- 
tinguish it from the Old, for in reality it has 
no pretensions to youth. Built in 1749, it 
served the Markgrafen of Baden as a dwelling- 
place until the whole court was moved to 
Rastatt, and even to-day it often welcomes 
members of the Grand Ducal family in the 
quieter months of the year. 

A curious story is told concerning this sudden 
changing of court residence. It happened that, 
in the year 1692, the Markgraf Ludwig Wilhelm 
returned in triumph from the wars in Turkey, 
where he had won himself both honour and 
treasure. Baden-Baden, then the capital of his 
state, decorated itself with as much magnificence 
as was possible, considering its ruined condition, 
and gave the national hero a welcome befitting 
his deeds and popularity. In his victorious 
train was a young Turkish princess, whose father 
had killed himself rather than yield to his 

291 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

conqueror, and whom the Markgraf had rescued 
and brought to Europe. Magnanimous and 
chivalrous as he was, the Markgraf did every- 
thing in his power to make the young captive's 
life bearable, but his wife, Sibylle, looked upon 
the stranger with hatred and suspicion. Her 
jealousy was unfounded as far as the Markgraf 
was concerned, but the Turkish maiden, Zoraide, 
as she was named, cherished a deep love for 
her protector, which one day broke out in a 
passionate confession. The sad scene between 
the grave, honourably minded man and the 
hot-headed child she was but fifteen years 
old was overheard by the Markgrafin, whose 
fury amounted to madness. On her way back 
to her rooms the Princess Zoraide was stabbed 
to death, and though it was given out that she 
killed herself out of home-sickness, it was noted 
that from that hour the Markgraf never spoke 
to his wife and removed his court to Rastatt. 
The Markgrafin took up her residence at the 
Castle Favorite, a few miles from Baden, and 
there lived an extraordinary life six months 
of wild orgies were, invariably followed by six 
months of sackcloth and ashes but she never 
saw her husband again. 

The * Favorite ' forms one of the most 
pleasant drives from Baden-Baden, and after 
drinking coffee under the oak trees which 

292 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

surround the forester's house, the visitor would 
do well to make a tour of the interesting little 
castle, where he can view the scenes of the 
wicked Sibylle's doings, as well as the gruesome 
chapel with the horrible wax figures of the 
Holy Family, at whose feet she spent her 
periods of expiation. 

A pleasant half-hour's walk from the New 
Castle brought us to the remains of the Old, 
the so-called Kuins of Hohenbaden. The way 
upwards through the forest had prepared us 
for an extensive view, but all expectation sank 
colourless before the beauty of the outlook from 
the terrace. Unfortunately a restaurant with 
well-filled tables disturbed us, and with no 
more than a glimpse down into the depths, we 
hurried through the stone gateway and into 
the peaceful precincts of the ruins, assuring 
ourselves that there we should have time enough 
to gaze our fill without the supercilious atten- 
tions of gentlemanly waiters, (not that the 
restaurant is to be despised certainly not. 
On other occasions I have visited the Old 
Castle and been graciously pleased to partake 
of an excellent, if expensive, meal at one of the 
white tables overlooking the valley, but on this 
occasion we were feeling above such materialism 
and desired poetical solitude). Taste in the 
matter of ruins is very varying, and therefore 

293 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

I hope to disarm all protest as regards my next 
remark by admitting right away that I do not 
count myself infallible namely, to my mind 
no other ruin in the Black Forest, or even in 
Baden, equals that of Hohenbaden either in 
form or situation and my- challenge is delivered 
above all to Heidelberg, whose castle claims the 
palm. But Heidelberg Castle is a ' show ' ruin, 
and at the bottom is just a little bit of humbug. 
It is too modern, too * touched-up ' to awaken 
any real feeling of awe. One feels a little as 
though one were being shown over a fine 
tumble- down palace of recent origin, and a 
visit to the renovated chapel is a final, most 
dreadful disillusion. But Hohenbaden is genuine. 
The spirit of long past centuries hovers over its 
roofless halls ; the breeze sighing through the 
aeolian harps seems like the voice of history 
telling gently and resignedly of old glorious 
years when fair ladies and brave knights loved 
and fought and died between the massive walls. 
Untouched since the tragic year of 1689, when 
French hands brought the final ruin, it gazes 
proudly down on to the valley 1200 feet 
below, on to the town over which it once 
wielded sovereign sway, and seems to hold 
itself aloof from the irresponsible crowd of 
pleasure-seekers who wander carelessly about 
the scene of the final struggle against the hated 

294 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

pillagers. But indeed, to judge from the central 
hall, the ruins know that later history has 
revenged them, for there is a sunny peace over 
all ; trees have grown up where once were 
stately pillars, and golden patches of sunshine 
alternate with cool green - tinted shadows. 
From the parapet which runs along the top of 
the wall we obtained an uninterrupted view of 
the valley, but, strange enough, it was still the 
shattered walls about us which held our 
attention. The quiet, the general atmosphere 
of drowsy content, made it seem hardly possible 
that a ghost should haunt the castle limits ; 
yet such is the case, and there are many who 
will testify to having seen at midnight a gray 
shadow pass wailing from the banqueting hall 
to the high tower there to disappear. The 
Gray Lady, as the spectre is called, is no other 
than a former Markgrafin of Baden, who one 
day carried her baby son to the tower of the 
castle and, showing him the lovely world 
beneath, boasted to him of the great riches and 
power which would one day be his. Thereupon 
the unhappy child struggled out of her arms 
and fell headlong into the abyss. The body 
was never found, and to-day the mother, thus 
heavily punished for her pride, wanders round 
the ruins lamenting and seeking in vain for the 
son she is condemned never to find. A second 

2 95 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

version of the story is that the Markgrafin had 
two children, and, being of a cruel, grasping 
disposition, she killed them, determining that 
the day should never come when she should 
have to give up her power and wealth into the 
younger hands. But vengeance comes sooner 
or later on the track of every crime, and though 
the wicked Markgrafin escaped earthly punish- 
ment, she was forced after death to haunt the 
scenes of her cruel deeds. Thus anybody who 
has the questionable fortune to meet the Gray 
Lady can choose which story pleases him best 
for only one thing is certain about her, and 
that is that her appearance is always immedi- 
ately followed by a dire misfortune to the 
Grand Ducal house, though it is only fair to 
add that the present rulers belong to another 
branch of the family, and are therefore only 
distant connections of the unhappy spirit. 

From the ruins we proceeded by a somewhat 
steep path up to the rocks. Most wanderers 
miss this part of the walk because they labour 
under the mistaken impression that the castle 
marks the highest point, or because they shirk 
the last and rather exhausting ascent. But 
once the flight of stone steps have been over- 
come, the path is easy enough, and a quarter 
of an hour farther on a stone signpost points 
abruptly to the left. Over a wilderness of rock 

296 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

we at last readied the wooden bridge which 
leads from one giant boulder to another, and 
there, balanced, as it seemed to us, over the 
edge of a bottomless abyss, we gazed, awestruck, 
at the scene beneath us. I have mentioned 
before that actual feet and inches are of very 
little account in the Black Forest, where position 
and form, rather than height, make the grandeur 
of the mountains. Nowhere is this the case 
more than at the summit of the rocks. What 
is a paltry 1695 feet after the Feldberg's 
4500 feet ? And yet not even the Feldberg 
can offer a more impressive outlook, much less 
combine its impressiveness with a charm which 
is almost pastoral. Indeed, I know no other 
view in the Black Forest which at once arouses 
so deep a sense of peace, so profound a sense of 
awe. It is true that to the left, and directly 
opposite, high mountains prevent the eye from 
penetrating farther into the forest, but to the 
right stretches the broad Khine Valley, and 
through the shimmering heat-mist the great 
river itself appears like a broad winding band 
of silver. Below, directly beneath the 
wanderer's feet, like a sea of olive-green, are 
the tops of the mighty pines which grow 
tenaciously on the face of the precipice ; and 
beyond them, lower down, the little white town, 
a sparkling gem set in the heart of an emerald 

297 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

world, beckons invitingly. The eye, at first 
only capable of receiving one whole and lovely 
impression, begins to pick out details. A little 
to the right, at the base of the opposite 
mountain, a golden dome glitters in the sun- 
light. It is the Eussian chapel, built by the 
Prince Michael Stourdza as a memorial to his 
son, and well worth a visit when the rambler 
has ten minutes to spare from the attractions of 
the Kurgarten. Towards the south-east the 
Fremersberg begins the chain of mountains 
which shut off Baden-Baden on three sides from 
the world. An hour and a half's walk from 
the Russian chapel brings the traveller to the 
unfailing tower at the summit (1578 feet), 
and, should he travel westwards, he will find a 
lonely villa, once a Franciscan monastery, to 
which the equally unfailing legend is attached. 
A certain Markgraf, Jacob of Baden, was a 
great hunter as well as a pious, God-fearing 
man, and one night, having lost himself in the 
depths of the Fremersberg forest, he was over- 
taken by a terrific storm. In his despair he 
called upon God to save him, and immediately 
the thunder subsided, and in the sudden silence 
he heard the tinkling of a bell. Revived by 
hope, he guided his terrified horse in the 
direction from whence the sound came, and 
soon found himself at the door of a miserable 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

hut. In response to a blast on his huntsman's 
horn, two old hermits made their appearance 
and offered him the rough shelter of their home. 
The Markgraf accepted gratefully, and the next 
morning, refreshed and strengthened, he was 
able to regain the road back to his capital. At 
parting he promised his humble hosts a sub- 
stantial reward for their timely service, and 
though they probably had small confidence in 
the keeping of that promise, they were agreeably 
surprised. Markgraf Jacob proved as good as 
his word, for soon afterwards builders appeared 
on the mountain-side, and before the year was 
out a small monastery replaced the miserable 
hut in which he had taken refuge. 

More wonderful and more tragic are the 
stories told of the Yburg, the mountain which 
lies to the south-west of the Fremersberg, and 
whose noble, though ruined, castle fascinates the 
idlest Baden-Baden er into undertaking the 
necessary two and a half hours' walk. The 
first of the legends is illustrated by the 
paintings which are to be found on the walls 
of the Trinkhalle's covered promenade, and 
concerns a certain Burkhard Keller von Yburg, 
a young knight in the service of a dowager 
Markgrafin who had taken up her residence in 
the castle of Hohenbaden. It may be that 
Burkhard found the widow's court somewhat 

299 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

dreary, for he soon sought consolation in the 
company of a fair young girl from the neigh- 
bouring village of Eberstein. To visit his 
secret bride he was compelled to leave the 
castle by stealth, and it often happened that 
midnight struck e'er he returned to his own 
apartments. One night, at the cross-roads 
leading from Hohenbaden to Eberstein, a 
strange apparition appeared before him a 
woman draped in white rose out of the ground 
and beckoned him with such wondrous magic 
that, though her face was hidden, the young 
Burkhard felt for the first time that he was in the 
toils of a great passion ; but before a word could 
pass his lips the figure vanished, and he was 
left alone in darkness and restless despair. The 
village maiden saw him no more, but every 
night he disappeared from the castle, only to 
return at dawn, a haggard, wild-eyed spectre 
of his former self. A page, more daring than 
the rest, ventured to follow him on one of 
these ghostly wanderings, and there, at the 
cross-roads, he too beheld the mysterious 
woman. This time the veil was thrown back, 
revealing a face of such noble, yet sorrowful, 
beauty that Burkhard, unconscious of all else, 
flung himself on his knees before her, uttering 
words of wild, incoherent love such as surely 
human lips had never uttered before. The 

300 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

hidden page saw how her white arms enfolded 
him and how their lips met ; then, overcome by 
a nameless terror, he turned and fled back to the 
castle. The next morning the young knight 
was found dead, and his uncle, obeying some 
blind instinct, excavated the spot on which he 
had lain, and there found, a few feet beneath 
the earth's surface, the marble bust of a 
beautiful woman. The Eoman inscription 
revealed that the place had once been dedicated 
to heathen worship, and that the marble bust 
was of no less a deity than Venus herself. With 
his own hand Burkhard's uncle destroyed the 
fatal image, and, to ban the evil spirits for 
ever, he erected a cross and stone bearing 
his nephew's name, which stand to this day. 
The body of the misguided young knight was 
carried over to the family vault in the castle 
of Yburg. Soon afterwards the family found its 
last representative in a drinking and gambling 
ne'er-do-weel, who reduced the castle to ruin 
and disrepute. One wild and stormy night, as 
the Yburg's riotous lord sat vainly contriving 
schemes to save himself from the difficulties in 
which he had become entangled, a loud knocking 
was heard at the courtyard door. His servants 
had long before fled from the scenes of his 
wickedness, and he was therefore compelled to 
answer the summons himself. A handsomely 

301 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

dressed stranger, bearing a goblet of wonderful 
red wine, immediately stepped across the 
threshold and begged shelter for the night in 
return for the goblet and its contents. 

1 'You are welcome, stranger," was the lord's 
greedy answer. " I would welcome the devil 
himself were he the bearer of such a gift." 

The two sat together carousing deep into the 
night, but, whereas the unknown guest retained his 
wits, his host rapidly succumbed to the fragrant 
but strangely powerful wine, and in an intoxicated 
state he poured out the story of his desperate 
straits and sought his companion's advice. In- 
stantly a flash of cruel satisfaction passed over 
the other's dark face. 

" Have you never thought to seek amongst 
the bones of your ancestors which lie in the 
vault beneath ? " he suggested. " I have heard 
that great treasures lie hidden there." 

Excited as he was, the lord at first shrank 
from the horrible proposal, but a glass more of 
the mysterious wine weakened his powers of 
resistance, and, guided by his guest, he began the 
descent into the cold and gloomy vaults beneath. 
There a kind of madness came over him. With 
frantic, sacrilegious hands he tore open the 
crumbling coffins, seeking amidst the bones of 
his ancestors for the supposed riches, and in his 
blindness he did not even spare the resting- 

302 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

place of his own child. Instantly a blinding 
flash of light passed through the vault, and the 
Lord of Yburg, dazzled but sober, saw that his 
guest had vanished, and that in his stead stood 
the devil himself, stretching out bony, greedy 
fingers towards his prize with the words 
" Let go your hold!" 

The terrified lord staggered back from the 
child's coffin and prepared himself for the ever- 
lasting perdition which threatened ; but no doubt 
there must have been some good in him, for at 
the same moment that his satanic majesty was 
about to seize upon him, a child's voice echoed 
through the vault 
" Let go your hold ! " 

A terrific clap of thunder followed, vault 
and castle crumbled together, and the Herr von 
Yburg, miraculously saved from death and 
damnation, set out from the ruins on a pilgrim- 
age which was to mark the beginning of a better 
life. The proof of this legend is to be found in 
the second tower, which shows signs of having 
been struck by a flash of lightning ; but un- 
believers have ventured to trace the general ruin 
to the Thirty Years' War, and, later still, to the 
French pillagers of 1689. 

Still farther east the eye encounters the top- 
most ridge of the Hornisgrinde, and, closer at 
hand, the Steinberg and Ruhberg. Then directly 

303 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

to the left of the rocks is the 'Merkur' (the 
Mountain of Mercury), so called because of the 
god's statue which was found buried on its 
summit ; and with this tower-crowned mountain 
the view from the rocks ends. 

The 'Felsenmeer' (Sea of Kocks) still remains 
to be inspected, and for our part we lingered 
willingly amidst the wild, fantastically shaped 
boulders, between which a rough path has been 
cut down to the valley. Wonderful indeed are 
the pines and firs which in this stony, unfruitful 
world have managed to take root. Where their 
roots spring from it is hard to tell ; they seem 
to cling by some magic strength to the face of 
the rock, defying the tempests which break over 
their proud heads, and only here and there a 
seared trunk tells of the enemy's lightning 
stroke. 

Turning back from the ' Felsenmeer ' we 
wandered north-east by a pleasantly winding 
path to the little village of Ebersteinburg, which 
lies sheltered in the heart of the valley ; and still 
upheld by our returning energy, though with 
more kindly feelings towards misplaced and un- 
romantic restaurants, we struck along the road 
which leads up to the castle, and a quarter of an 
hour later found us seated in the Gasthaus of 
the ruin, preparing ourselves for a welcome 
dinner. During the interval between the courses 

304 






BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

my companion, who, being a true German, knows 
the chief ballads of her native land off by heart, 
gave me the benefit of Uhland's " Graf Eberstein," 
whereby I learnt the legend which makes the 
old castle famous. 

The ballad tells of the Emperor Otto's un- 
successful efforts to capture Ebersteinburg from 
its bold defender, the Graf Eberstein, and of his 
not very honourable ruse when all other means 
failed. At the time of the siege the Emperor 
gave a great feast at Speyer, and knowing the dar- 
ing character of his enemy, he invited the Graf 
Eberstein to attend, promising him security until 
his return to the castle. The Count accepted, 
suspecting no evil, and spent a merry evening 
dancing with the fair ones at the Emperor's 
court, amongst whom the Emperor's daughter 
won his special regard. The liking seems to 
have been mutual, for in the words of the 
poet 

" Und als er sie schwingt nun ira lustigen Reigen, 
Da fliistert sie leise, sie kann's nicht verschweigen 
Graf Eberstein 
Hiite dich feiii 
Heut 3 Nacht wird dein Schlosslein gefiihrdet sein." 

Or, in other words, for the benefit of those whose 
knowledge of the German language does not 
allow of the enjoyment of ballads, the Emperor's 
daughter found the Count too attractive not to 
u 305 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

take the opportunity of a dance to whisper to 
him that in his absence his castle was in danger. 
The Count needed no second warning. With 
all possible haste he recrossed the Khine and 
reached Ebersteinburg just in time to repulse 
the treacherous attack of the Emperor's troops. 
From that hour the knight's success was assured, 
for the Emperor found that he had an enemy in 
the camp, and an enemy not to be overcome 
by sword or cunning. Yielding at last to his 
daughter's strategy and the Count's military 
genius, the Emperor consented to a com- 
promise. The castle surrendered but only 
to the Emperor's daughter, who crossed the 
threshold as the Count's bride. Thus, all's 
well that ends well, and it is quite a relief 
to find a legend that does have ' a happy 
ending.' 

Altogether the castle seems to have been 
fortunate, both in its masters and in its history, 
for, unlike its neighbours, it has fallen peacefully 
into decay without the helping hand of French 
invaders. To-day little remains but the donjon, 
from whence a fine view can be obtained over 
the Rhine Valley ; and soon after our settlement 
with our host we were on our way homeward by 
way of the Verbrannten Felsen (burnt rocks) 
and the Wolfsschlucht. From the former a 
wilderness of rocks rising to about twelve hundred 

306 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

feet the wanderer obtains a charming glimpse 
of the Murg Valley; and the Wolfsschlucht, 
though small, is wild and romantic enough to 
justify the necessary detour. 

From thence back to Baden we needed an 
hour's steady walking a not inconsiderable 
matter, considering our morning's exertions and 
the not very exhilarating atmosphere ; but the 
shady and beautifully kept paths minimised 
the distance, and there was still another legend 
this time of a purely academic character 
to excite our interest. Two blocks of granite, 
the one bearing an inscription, the other a 
cross, mark the spot where once the devil and 
an angel delivered sermons against each other 
the latter, of course, coming off in triumph. A 
painting of the episode is to be found on the 
walls of the Trinkhalle, where, indeed, all the 
legends of the neighbourhood have been depicted 
for the benefit of the ' Kurgaste ' on their early 
morning wanderings with their glass of steaming 
spring water. These works of art are indeed a 
veritable guide for the wanderer, who, if he takes 
each legend and makes a point of visiting the 
scene in which it was played, will find that 
he has thoroughly 'done' the Northern Black 
Forest. But he will have to be a very energetic 
wanderer above all, steeled against the tempta- 
tions of Baden-Baden herself. He must despise 

307 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

worldliness in every form, and feel himself above 
lazy saunterings down the Lichtenthaler Allee 
with its fresh green gardens and stately ruinous 
hotels. In fact, he must be a rambler par 
excellence would that we could lay claim to 
the distinction ! Let it be confessed, to our 
shame, that our longest walk after the one 
already described was to the nunnery at the end 
of the Allee the last of its kind, and only 
excepted from the general suspension of the 
Orders in 1803 by the fact that the foundress 
and many of the abbesses belonged to the Grand 
Ducal house and are buried in the church. The 
nunnery was saved from the devastating French 
Army in 1689 by the advice of a French general, 
who, having been nursed by the nuns, told them 
to take off the slates of the roof, thus giving the 
place an appearance of being deserted. The ruse 
was successful and the nuns were spared. To- 
day only twenty are allowed to inhabit the 
building, which was founded in response to a 
wish expressed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux that 
a nunnery of his order (Cistercian) should be 
built on the spot. His desire was gratified by 
Irmengard, the widow of the Markgraf Her- 
mann v., ninety years after the death of the 
great preacher. 

With this visit to one of Baden-Baden's most 
interesting relics of the past our energy finally 

308 



BADEN-BADEN, SURROUNDINGS 

collapsed. We sank back luxuriously into the 
dolce far niente which is in the very air, and our 
advice to travellers who wish to know Baden- 
Baden thoroughly and realise her full charm is 
Go and do likewise. 



309 



CHAPTER XV 

THE LAST RAMBLE : HERRENALB AND 
KARLSRUHE 

IT was with a double regret that after a week 
in Baden-Baden we mounted our long-neglected 
bicycles and slowly made our way up the steep 
and winding ascent which leads to Gernsbach. 
In the first place the week's idleness had rather 
incapacitated us for strenuous endeavour, in the 
second we knew that our journeying was nearly 
at an end. Past the so-called ' Fisch-Kultur/ a 
simple but much- visited restaurant, we wheeled 
our machines upwards through the Forest until 
we reached a point where the road once more 
permitted us to mount and enjoy the fruits of 
our labours in a long, luxurious ' free-wheel ' 
down into Gernsbach. But for these blissful 
interludes our bicycles would have been no more 
than an encumbrance ; but he who knows the 
wonders of free-wheeling down the Black Forest 
roads will understand that we were prepared to 
walk many miles and to push our machines up 

310 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

the steepest hills for the sake of a few minutes 
of exertionless movement through the fresh, 
pine-laden air. And for that matter the old- 
fashioned little town I call it * town ' for fear 
of giving offence offered pleasant enough 
accommodation for the rest of that day and night, 
and in itself is perhaps one of the most pictur- 
esque villages pardon towns of the Northern 
Black Forest. There are no thatched cottages 
or quaintly dressed peasants, but the streets 
present, none the less, a quaint aspect of age 
and dreamy respectability. Especially attractive 
is the view from the bridge across the Murg. 
The river is fairly broad at this point, and 
foaming over the slanting weir seems only to be 
kept within its limits on the one side by the 
raised roadway, on the other by the low, irregu- 
larly built houses. Close at hand is Schloss 
Eberstein (not to be confused with Alt-Eberstein 
or Ebersteinburg), which in 1689 suffered the 
general fate at the hands of the French, but was 
renovated in 1804 by the monk Graf Fried rich. 
The descendants of the Graf Eberstein, whose 
story has already been related, forsook the old 
castle for the new, and at least one member 
of the family, Graf Wilhelm, is buried in 
the Protestant church at Gernsbach. For the 
rest, Gernsbach is one of the chief centres of 
the timber trade in the Black Forest, and in 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

spite of narrow streets and tumble-down houses 
is peacefully prosperous and little troubled by 
the outside world, save when a packed motor-car 
from Baden-Baden clanks through on its way to 
Herrenalb and Wildbad. 

To recover from the effects of a week in the 
somewhat relaxing air of Baden-Baden we had 
promised ourselves a few days' rest in the higher 
regions before returning definitely to town life, 
and had chosen Herrenalb for the resting-place. 
Thus the next day saw us en route, now plod- 
ding up the mountain-side, now sailing gracefully 
down the winding road as fast as a due regard 
for our bones permitted. The distance being 
but a matter of about six miles, we reached our 
destination early in the day and put up at the 
Hotel zum Falkenstein, a charming little hotel 
which by some miracle or other has managed to 
strike the happy medium between extravagant 
luxury and uncomfortable simplicity. In all 
gratitude I must remember the pleasant evenings 
in the gardens which alone separated the hotel 
from the fir-covered mountains, the excellent 
meals, daintily served at small tables on the 
verandahs, the general atmosphere of quiet and 
refinement. It had not been my original inten- 
tion to make much mention of our various hotels, 
but sometimes so much of our pleasure has de- 
pended on the kindliness of our hosts and their 

312 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

arrangements for the comfort of their guests 
that it seems only fair to mention them, if only 
for the benefit of other ramblers. 

We were now in the Wurttembergischen Black 
Forest, which, as has already been mentioned, is 
not rich in beautiful spots ; but though Herrenalb 
has nothing of a romantic nature to show to 
the traveller returning from the splendours of the 
south, it is none the less a place most suitable both 
as the end or the beginning of a prolonged tour. 
The height (1000 feet) warrants a fresh, pure air 
which prepares the constitution equally well for 
a descent from higher levels to the lowlands, 
or for an ascent into the mountains. Its valley, 
called the Alb, after the crystal, trout-filled 
stream which flows down to Karlsruhe, is one of 
the most charming in the Northern Black Forest, 
and in early autumn the fiery tints which 
mingle with the pine on the low mountains, the 
contrasting emerald green of the meadows, the 
unbroken peace, make it a positive paradise for 
the weary workers in the great towns whose 
close proximity seems scarcely believable. 
Farther down towards Karlsruhe spinning manu- 
factories have sprung up to disfigure the land- 
scape, but from Marxzell to Herrenalb the scenery 
is, of its kind, perfect. As for Herrenalb itself, 
it must first be explained that its name is 
intended to distinguish it from the nunnery, 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Frauenalb, which lies a few miles farther down 
the valley. Both the monastery at Herrenalb 
and the nunnery at Frauenalb owe their origin 
to Graf Berthold n. of Eberstein, who seems to 
have suffered severely from the then fashionable 
complaint of ' visions.' The first vision, it is 
true, appeared to his great friend the Graf von 
Zimmern, who, following the custom of the 
time, lost himself in the Forest whilst stag- 
hunting, and was met by a mysterious figure. 
His spectral guide led him to a castle and 
showed him a scene of wild revelry, in which the 
knight's ancestors took the chief part. Then 
suddenly, amidst a crash of thunder, the castle 
crumbled together and nothing was seen but 
smoke and the thick fumes of rising sulphur. 

"Listen to the groans of these souls in 
torment and take warning ! " was the parting 
advice of the Grafs companion. " Their fate 
may be yours ! " 

Apparently the effect was instantaneous, for 
with the assistance of his friend of Eberstein, Graf 
von Zimmern built the nunnery of Frauenalb 
as an expiation for his and his ancestors' sins. 
But even the pious nuns seem to have been 
infected by the evil spirits which haunted the 
spot, for it is to be regretfully confessed that 
their conduct was far from exemplary. In the 
fourteenth century the Abbess Margarete von 

314 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

Eberstein maintained an obstinate quarrel with 
the Convention, which ended in the interference 
of the Markgraf of Baden, who laid the nunnery 
in ashes. It was rebuilt, but again burnt down 
in 1507, and with the Reformation the morals of 
the inmates seem to have gone to ruin with the 
rest. At any rate the conduct of the abbess was 
sufficiently bad to warrant the Markgraf s de- 
cision that the nuns should be expelled and the 
nunnery secularised. But the nuns were made 
of bolder stuff than was to be expected from 
women of their calling. They offered deter- 
mined resistance, so that a small army had to 
be sent up against them, and it was only after 
a fierce struggle that they surrendered. Even 
then their resistance was not at an end. They 
appealed to the Imperial court of justice at 
Speyer, and the result was the discomfiture of 
the Markgraf, who was compelled to reinstate 
them. Their joy over the news of the verdict 
was so great that a portrait of the mounted 
messenger was made on the cloister door. 
A quaint dwarfs figure is also to be found in 
the garden, and commemorates the first announce- 
ment that the Thirty Years' War was at an end. 
But the quarrel between the nuns and their 
liege lord, the Markgraf of Baden, continued. 
Perhaps upheld by the fact that the nunnery 
lies just over the border-line which separates 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

Baden from Wurttemberg, they attempted to 
obtain complete independence, and again military 
force had to be used to convince them of their 
mistake. Very shortly afterwards the Peace 
of LuneVille finally settled the quarrel, to the 
satisfaction of Baden, and the troublesome nuns 
were expelled for ever. The building was used 
for a doth manufactory, but the sacrilege was 
shortly afterwards punished by a fire which laid 
the old nunnery in ruins, and since then they 
have been allowed to rest in peace. 

It will be seen from this brief outline that 
the Graf von Zimmern's pious act seems to have 
been of but small avail, and for aught I know 
the ill-fated nunnery may still be haunted by 
the evil spirits which witnessed its foundation. 
In daylight, however, the ruins are merely 
picturesque and make an admirable goal for an 
afternoon's walk or bicycle ride (lazy folk can 
make use of the little electric tram which runs 
from Herrenalb to Karlsruhe). Coffee should 
be drunk in the restaurant inside the ruins, and 
imaginative persons should be on the look out 
for the entrance to the secret underground 
passage which connected the monastery to 
Frauenalb as a means of escape in times of 
danger, so the guide-books say. Also there is 
a gloomy spot where my German friend assured 
me the renegade nuns were buried alive, and 

316 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

though I have nothing but her word for the 
truth of the story I give it in the hope that 
it may cause the reader an agreeable shudder. 

But to return to Herrenalb ! The monastery 
owed its foundation to that already mentioned 
Graf Berthold von Eberstein, who, in 1180, 
probably infected by his friend, beheld a warning 
vision, and as a result the Cistercian monastery 
was built in the following year. The place 
seems to have suffered even worse than the 
nunnery. The Keformation made the inmates 
turn out for the benefit of the Protestant clergy, 
and the Thirty Years' War reduced the building 
to such a state of ruin that to-day nothing 
remains but the old church with the tomb- 
stones of the family Eberstein. The little roof- 
less chapel bears the name of ' Paradise,' though 
why I do not know, unless it is because of its 
sunny peace. The chief curiosity of the place 
is the tall fir tree which grows on the top of 
the slender arch of the doorway, having its 
roots no one knows where, but successfully 
defying wind and lightning. The neighbour- 
ing church has been successfully renovated, but 
where the monastery once stood only a large 
bath establishment for the health seekers is to 
be found. Added to all this Herrenalb possesses 
a Kurgarten, and in the high season a string- 
band, which discourses sweet music twice daily; 

317 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

but somehow or other everything is on such 
a miniature scale that one is not in the least 
offended at the attempt. Altogether Herrenalb 
gives the impression of being a big plaything : 
the shops and bazaars are so small and dainty, 
the houses and villas are so brightly coloured, 
that it is very difficult to take them seriously, 
and even the Falkenstein Eocks, which overlook 
the valley, though reputed majestic, scarcely 
seem more than a finishing touch to the whole. 
Curiously enough Herrenalb is one of the few 
places in South Germany where private villas 
are plentiful, a fact which speaks well for its 
popularity. Its popularity is perhaps a little 
too marked in the months of July and August, 
but in June, even in the latter half of May, 
it offers a wonderful peace and fresh green 
loveliness to those whose time and purse does 
not allow of a longer journey. 

After a few days' rest and refreshment we 
once more shouldered our knapsacks and set 
out on the final stages of our travels. The 
shortest route to our eventual destination, 
Karlsruhe, was by way of Frauenalb and 
Ettlingen (a delightful downhill ride of about 
twelve miles), but with the very human desire 
to put off the evil day we had decided on a 
flying visit to the great "Wurttembergisch 
watering-place Wildbad. It is to be confessed 

318 







THE DWARF IN THE FRAUEXALB NUNNERY. 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

that the term 'flying' is a little misplaced, 
for the first ascent of the Dobel mountain, which 
divides Herrenalb from Wildbad, was steep in 
the extreme, and the combined burdens of our 
knapsacks and bicycles threatened to become 
overwhelming. But after an hour's steady 
climbing the open, wind-swept summit was 
reached and our reward close at hand. From 
thence onward the beautiful road wound down 
into the valley in graceful curves, which left 
us no work save that of keeping a firm hold 
on the brakes, and half an hour later we were 
once more on the level and wheeling our way 
southwards to Wildbad. We were now in the 
narrow Enz Valley, whose chief charm lies 
in the pine-covered mountains which rise up 
abruptly on either side. In the strict sense of 
the word they are not mountains, but merely 
the rocky walls of a cutting, and if the traveller 
has energy enough to make the ascent he will 
be surprised to find himself in a rich pasture 
and meadow land bearing little resemblance 
to the usual Black Forest type of scenery. 
Wildbad lies in the narrow end of the valley, and 
is the only important town of which the region 
can boast. 

In spite of a theatre, Kurgarten, Kurhaus, 
and all the other adornments of a fashionable 
watering-place, Wildbad has never succeeded in 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

approaching its rival Baden-Baden in popularity 
amongst the genuine pleasure-seekers. Unlike 
the majority of Black Forest Bader its waters 
are of genuine utility, and, as a consequence, 
Wildbad is above all else a resort of those 
seeking health and rest. The worldly ones 
keep away for the most part. The extremely 
closed-in situation makes the heat in summer 
unpleasantly oppressive, and in winter the 
climate is rough in proportion, so that ordinary 
folk needing fresh, bracing air prefer the 
mountains, and those on the outlook for pure 
pleasure pass on as a matter of course to Baden- 
Baden. Nevertheless, interesting rambles can be 
made into the Murg and Nagold valleys, and 
there are pleasant walks enough for guests 
whose energies have been reduced by the relax- 
ing atmosphere. A funicular has even been 
erected in late years, so that when the heat 
becomes intolerable it is easy enough to escape 
from the valley to the cooler heights of the 
mountains. Fine hotels and bath establishments 
are perhaps the chief attractions of Wilbacl, 
whose surroundings, though lovely enough in 
an unpretentious way, cannot compare with those 
of the Badische watering-places. With perfect 
right Wildbad calls itself the Queen of the 
Wurttembergisch Black Forest but the Wiirt- 
tembergisch Black Forest is but a small part 

320 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

of the whole, and I even venture to suggest that 
of the two Herrenalb is the more likely to win 
the preference of ordinary mortals not afflicted 
with gout and other ailments which the flesh 
is heir to. For our part, being sound in body, 
we found nothing to excuse our putting off the 
evil day of our return homewards, and early 
the next morning we were riding to our last 
stopping-place, Pforzheim. As the greatest 
jewellery manufacturing town in Germany, it may 
be imagined that it has but little to offer in 
the way of scenic attractions, and our night's 
rest there was made solely in order that we 
might be able to bicycle the next day to 
Karlsruhe. Nevertheless, Pforzheim has historical 
interest enough. As the northern gate to the 
Black Forest, it was once the site of a Roman 
Kastell, and in later generations bore a lion's 
share in the ruin and suffering of the French 
invasions. To-day the visitor's impression is 
one of prosperity, peace, and cleanliness. The 
dirt and confusion of a big manufacturing town 
are wholly absent ; it is indeed hard to believe 
that 26,000 workmen are engaged in the 800 
manufactories of which the town boasts ! 

And now our last ride is at hand, and it is not 

less beautiful because the Black Forest has been 

left behind us, and only the distant line of 

mountains reminds us of the land of forest and 

x 321 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

pine through which we have wandered. Our 
level road leads through leafy forest and wide 
stretches of open, prosperous land ; on either 
hand apple and cherry trees mark our way, and 
there is no more lovely sight than the road from 
Pforzheim to Karlsruhe in the season when the 
fruit trees bear their blossom. Then I have 
seen it as a veritable fairyland, and even on this 
occasion there is enough pastoral loveliness to 
satisfy even the spoilt Black Forest wanderer 
accustomed to Dame Nature's grandest effects. 
And, apart from the scenery, there are the quaint 
South German villages, with their low white 
cottages, their healthy barefooted children, 
their storks' nests, their pleasant inns and 
friendly inhabitants. The traveller who has 
accompanied us so far would do well to follow 
our last example and take his midday meal at 
the sunny village of Berghausen, where mine 
host of the Gasthaus zum Laub will give him 
a courtly welcome in the old oak-lined parlour, 
show him, in between the courses, paintings 
presented him by famous painters who have 
visited the place, and last, but by no means 
least, the tame stork who, on account of a 
broken wing, condescends to spend the rough 
winter under German skies, when a curious- 
looking pair of red stockings help him to resist 
the cold. And so onward through the peaceful 

322 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

country until the old Roman tower of Durlach 
rises to the left, warning us that our destination 
is close at hand. 

Once the capital of Baden, Durlach has sunk 
to little more than a rather dirty suburb of 
Karlsruhe, and bears scarcely a trace of its 
ancient origin and troubled history. Only the 
tower on the hill tells of the first Roman 
soldiery who, from that vantage-ground, kept 
watch over the Rhine Valley. A couple of 
miles farther along the broad, straight high-road 
and we have already crossed the boundary of 
the modern capital, Karlsruhe, and, dusty and 
travel-worn, ride down the chief street, proudly 
conscious of the deeds of prowess which lie 
behind us. 

Karlsruhe Karl's rest owes its name to the 
founder, who, having quarrelled with his Parlia- 
ment at Durlach, removed his residence to the 
present site in the hopes that in the idyllic 
seclusion of the forest he might find peace. 
That his subjects found they could not live 
without him is a fact which is not to be re- 
gretted by the present generation, for Karlsruhe, 
though still peaceful, is one of the most pleasant 
* Residenzen ' of South Germany ; and whether 
it be chosen as a starting-point for the Black 
Forest or as a resting-place before undertaking 
the homeward journey to England, a short stay 

323 



RAMBLES IN THE BLACK FOREST 

can be made very agreeable. Even rambles 
are still to be indulged in, and if the visitor is a 
wise man, he will request his hotel porter to 
procure him a day's card for the Wildpark, and 
then lose himself, either on foot or on bicycle, 
in the lovely alle'es of oak and beech. Or if he 
be desirous of reaching some goal, let him choose 
the Freidrich's Allee and, having passed the 
cross-roads of the forester's little hut, take the 
first turning to the left and pass through the 
gates and over the railway to the Grand Duke's 
hunting-box at Stutensee, where a pleasant 
forester's house will provide him with shelter 
and refreshment. The hour and a half s ride is 
as lonely as it is beautiful, and the rambler must 
expect to meet no one but an occasional forester, 
who may ask him for his card, and perhaps a 
herd of deer or boars. The latter, be it 
mentioned, are quite harmless. 

But all this region belongs to the Hardtwald, 
not to the Black Forest ; and so, with Karlsruhe 
for our last stopping-place, we close our rambles. 
True, they have not exhausted the Black Forest 
many will say we have but skirted the inner 
beauties of the country but at least those who 
have followed us will have seen some of the chief, 
as well as the most secluded, spots. They will 
have twice crossed the full breadth of the forest, 
from west to east and from east to west, and will 

324 



THE LAST RAMBLE 

have passed over the highest regions of the 
north, haphazard, it is true, using every means 
of locomotion that presented itself, but still 
gaining a deeper glimpse into the real characters 
of the country and its people than can be 
obtained by those who cling vigorously to 
plans and time-tables. And if this little book, 
written by one Black Forest lover to other Black 
Forest lovers, and, above all, to those to whom 
the name conveys no feeling and no meaning, 
has opened the gates a little wider to a country 
which, in its character, its unfathomable spirit, 
has no rival, it has served its purpose and 
needs, therefore, no apology. 



325 



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